Friday, 20 January 2012

Labour movement urges govt to make it a criminal offence for any employer who denies their workers the right to belong to a union

The labour movement in the country has called on the government to make it a criminal offence for any employer to deny any worker from belonging to a labour union of their choice under the new workers rights which will be enshrined in the new constitution.
The three labour unions, Zambia congress of trade union (ZCTU), southern African centre constructive resolution disputes (SACCORD) and basic teachers union of Zambia (BETUZ) have also called on the government to hasten the revision of the labour.
ZCTU President Leonard Hikaumba says the ball is in the court of the Patrick front (PF) government to correctly spell out the workers rights in the new constitution and revise the labour laws because at the moment it is almost impossible to do certain action like strikes.
Mr Hikaumba says the labour movement will not accept anything which is not significant and representative of the workers in the constitution stating that there should not be misinterpretation of the labour laws.
Meanwhile Mr. Hikaumba has observed that the more money in your pocket campaign slogan has brought confusion amongst workers and resulted in industrial strikes and expectations are still high.
He says ZCTU is ready to work with government because the labour movement and government are social partners hence the assertions by certain quarters of society that it is compromised are misplaced.
SACCORD information officer Obby Chibuluma has challenged the government to make the living wage to be a minimum wage and not the current situation of giving employees less than 500,000 as the minimum wage.
Mr Chibuluma has observed that it was difficulty to have independent labour movement in the previous regime of the MMD government despite the poor labour policies which they had.
And BETUZ director of international research and project Stanly Mhango  says the labour is still waiting to see the bills which will be presented to parliament before it can judge the PF government stating that at the moment signs of improvement in labours having social protection for the workers are there.
Mr Mhango has also observed that the Countrywide strikes are as a result of the demonstration and commitment which the PF has shown in ensuring workers rights are protected and its promises during the campaigns of more money in the pocket.
He says there is need for government to Embark on changing labour laws so that we have industrial harmony in the country and not leave them in their current state which is bringing confusion.

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