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‘Moderate demands for improved perks’

MINISTER of Labour and Social Services Fackson Shamenda (left) talking to his ministry’s permanent secretary Barnaby Mulenga (center) and International Labour Organisation Director Alexio Musindo during the tripartite consultative council labour meeting at Government complex in Lusaka yesterday. PICTURE: ANGELA NTENTABUNGA.

VIOLET MENGO, Lusaka
ZAMBIA Federation of Employers (ZFE) president Tyson Chisambo has appealed to workers from organised labour movements to be moderate in their demands for improved perks this year as they engage in collective bargaining with employers.
In an interview on the margins of the tripartite consultative labour council meeting, Mr Tembo said employers expect workers to consider the tough economic conditions and the high cost of doing business.
He said the country is currently going through a tough economic situation and some companies are finding it hard to maintain certain jobs.
“We are not saying that employees should not get salary increments, what we are saying is that let us find ways of streamlining this economic situation together,” Mr Tembo said.
He said the major objective should be to ensure sustainability of firms to uplift the living standards of a cross section of the Zambian population.
Mr Tembo said both employees and employers need to collectively manage the prevailing economic situation to keep companies afloat and prevent job losses.
He further said workers need to be realistic in their demands, taking into consideration the current load shedding.
And Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Chishimba Nkole expressed hope that salary negotiations will be guided by the spirit of give and take between employers and the workers.
Mr Nkole said considering the economic situation in the country, the two parties should consider pertinent issues in the bargaining process.
“I know that it will be a very difficult thing to swallow, and it is not all the time that the union has to take an antagonistic position against employers. On this one, we are appealing that let there be consideration when negotiating,” he said.
Mr Nkole said given the economic situation in the country, unions should be able to see things on the employer’s perspective, if given valid reasons.
Meanwhile, Judicial and Allied Workers Union president Peter Mwale has called on Government to fund the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to enable labour inspectors monitor the implementation of the amended Employment Act.
“As much as Government may put in place good laws, if implementation and enforcement is not there, then those laws will just be pieces of paper,” Mr Mwale said.
He said the labour movement would like to see labour inspectors going round the country to monitor the implementation of the Employment Act, which, among other things, bars casualisation of labour and unfair dismissals.

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