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Vol 5 (AAC) No 11

Published 1st September 2012


Careless communication costs lives

Confusion about the new minimum wage law and tensions between workers and management lie behind the death of a Chinese mining boss in August

The killing of Wu Shenzai on 4 August and the wounding of his two compatriots by Zambian mine workers demanding the implementation of the newly revised minimum wage were widely condemned throughout Zambia. Wu, a 50-year-old manager at Collum Coal Mine, died after mine workers crushed him with a trolley as he tried to flee underground to escape a wage riot in one of the most dramatic clashes yet between Chinese managers and their local employees. Mine workers had organised a protest at what they saw as delays by Collum in adopting a new revised minimum wage. In fact, the new law, which came into force on 4 July, applies only to domestic, shop and general workers. Union members are not affected as their pay is negotiated by collective bargaining with employers.

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