STEVEN MVULA and EVARISTO MULENGA, Lusaka
MINISTER of Labour and Social Security Joyce Simukoko has threatened to invoke provisions of the law to prosecute and imprison employers
who ill-treat workers.
And Mrs Simukoko says employers who have been defaulting National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFCB) contributions will soon be taken to court.
Mrs Simukoko said this yesterday when she made an impromptu visit to AVIC International, Eva Products Zambia Limited and Oriental Quarries to check on work conditions and whether the companies remit statutory financial obligations.
Her delegation comprised labour inspectors from her ministry, officials from NAPSA, WCFCB and Zambia Institute of Human Resource Management.
Mrs Simukoko has vowed to strengthen inspections of companies to ensure that labour laws are adhered to.
“We have stopped informing you about our coming because you will be preparing yourselves. We have come as a big group because when we send a small group, there are issues of corruption,” Mrs Simukoko told AVIC International construction department manager Wang Zhiming.
The minister said she is interested in knowing if employees have contracts and if the contracts are in conformity with the labour laws and International Labour Organisation.
“We are not joking. We don’t want casualisation because we shall now be taking you to court and imprison you for six months,” Mrs Simukoko warned.
Mrs Simukoko said workers are crying on a daily basis because of poor working conditions and remuneration.
She directed NAPSA and WCFCB to immediately verify the figures if the companies inspected are remitting statutory financial obligations.
She said workers should be given transport, overtime and housing allowances and have the companies registered with the WCFCB as per labour laws.
Meanwhile, Mrs Simukoko blasted supervisors at Eva Products Zambia Limited when she discovered that the company has not been submitting NAPSA contributions and is not registered with the WCFCB.
Mrs Simukoko threatened to have their company closed and owners deported to South Korea if they do not adhere to the labour laws.
“We can imprison you for six months because workers in this country have been crying because of employers like yourselves,” she said.
Mrs Simukoko urged foreign investors to respect Zambians.
At the companies visited, Mrs Simukoko also took time to interact with workers and listen to their concerns.
She assured them of government support.