Editor's Comment

All must heed warning on labour laws


ZAMBIA is a growing economy and investment from within and outside the country is highly appreciated.
Both foreign and local investment is essential for the country’s economic growth and prosperity. Specifically, investment by multinational corporations leads to an increase in the standard of living of individuals.
With investment comes job creation, which translates into well-being of the citizenry, meaning a raised standard of living. The benefits also see the country grow economically to better the lives of its people.
An increase in the standard of living entails that individuals will acquire wealth to purchase products while the investment by multinational corporations indirectly creates economic prosperity.
However, every country has labour laws that need to be adhered to. Just as much as an investor provides security for citizens through employment, investors also benefit from their employees.
This means it is basically a give-and-take situation. Employers benefit from employees and vice versa.
It is unfair for investors to assume they are doing employees a favour by offering them jobs. Without those employees, an investor can not generate the expected revenue.
We are not saying employees should have a laissez faire attitude towards work but that their employers should also appreciate the hours they put in.
Despite making huge profits, some employers pay their workers peanuts which are far below the minimum wage.
What is even more disheartening is that some employers go to the extent of locking up their workers in institutions such as bakeries for fear that the employees might steal.
These are risks that employers should expect but there are better ways of dealing with them than locking up employees until the time they knock off.
We shudder to think what would happen in a situation where a fire breaks out and employees are locked in.
Other employers even strip their employees naked to search them in case anything from the work place has been stolen.
Zambia has high unemployment levels but that does not warrant employees to be abused to such extents.
That is why we support Government’s warning of stern action against firms abrogating labour laws.
For instance, Minister of Labour and Social Security Fackson Shamenda raised concerns over a firm for displaying adverts of a discriminatory nature.
Mr Shamenda visited the firm, which has since apologised for its actions.
It is key that everyone rises and sees to it that breaches of the law are not tolerated.
For an investor to set up base, then there is a benefit which has been identified.
We urge employers not to abuse their employees. Workers, too, must exhibit diligence in their jobs. After all, it’s that very job that puts food on the table.
Let’s work together to have a win-win situation.

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