Don’t dictate retirement age- Leonard Hikaumba

Government should not dictate retirement age says, Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Leonard Hikaumba has said.

He said the PF government must not take the dictatorial route by forcing and implementing the suggested new retirement age.

It should instead strive to follow procedure before enacting the new law that will support the new retirement age, adding that it was a responsibility to those in government to listen to other people’s views concerning the proposed retirement age.

And the labour leader has appealed to the Ministry of Labour to warn and caution other ministries to stop or desist from interfering in the organization and operation of unions in the country.

He said that it was saddening to see some ministries issuing statements which were interfering with the operation of the labour movement when they were not ministers responsible to discuss such matters.

Mr. Hikaumba said that the labour movement in the country wanted to see in place, laws that protected and promoted industrial harmony in order to achieve what was attainable in development.

But the PF government has sharply refuted the observations made by the ZCTU leader that government was being dictatorial over the proposed new retirement age from 55 to 65.

Labour Deputy Minister Ronald Chitotela said it was not correct to suggest that the PF regime was being dictatorial on the matter, adding that cabinet had tacked thoroughly and that government thought it was prudent for the public to debate the matter to conclusion before implementing it.

“This government has thrown the matter to the general public for further debate before implementing the new retirement age. So it is not only outrageous to insinuate that this government is being dictatorial in the manner it was handling this issues,” said Mr. Chitotela.

Mr. Chitotela said that the PF was not, adding that if they were running a dictatorial government they would not have allowed people to debate but have the matter taken to parliament for enactment.

“This government is all inclusive in all the decisions and dealings it is making hence such decision where we have allowed our people the very poor people who voted us into government to have a say about this matter,” he said.

Mr. Chitotela also said that the PF government was committed to take serious reviews in the manner labour laws were made.

He said that the current laws should be reviewed in order to have laws that support and protect both employees and employers and suit the dictates of  the prevailing economic demands and benefit t he workers.”In a long while now workers have not been benefiting from the economy when it was doing well. They don’t see the benefits of running a stable economy. As the PF we are saying that we want this to change,” he said.