Jan 09, 2012 (Dow Jones) --Union representatives in Zambia have agreed a new labor deal with Chinese-owned Sino Metals Copper plant for 2012 ending weeks of unrest at the Copperbelt-based plant, officials said Monday.
Management of the plant agreed to grant each miner a 800,000 Zambian Kwacha ($155) pay rise per month after months of negotiations, according to Sikufela Mundia, the president of the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers.
"We have reached an agreement with management over the pay rise which was the most contentious issue," he said.
The plant, which treats copper ores from the Chambishi Copper Mine, employs around 500 workers.
In October, the workers went on strike over the wage dispute, disrupting output for over a week. Management and union representatives have since been locked in talks, in an attempt to prevent another strike.
The plant is operated by Sino-Metal Leach Zambia Ltd., a unit of China Nonferrous Metals Co. (8306.HK).
Sino Metals is the second unit of China Nonferrous to offer a pay rise to its workers in recent weeks in an attempt avoid labor unrest which disrupted output.
A series of strikes have affected Zambia's mining sector since the presidential election in September was won by Michael Sata who campaigned on populist promises like improving workers' conditions.
Union representatives have warned of more strikes unless companies meet workers' pay demands.
Last week, a strike at First Quantum Minerals Ltd.'s (FM.T) Kansanshi Copper Mines cost the company at least $10 million.