Government’s decision to freeze wage and job opportunities is an exhibition of total disregard of the industrial and labour relations and cannot be condoned by the unions, says Judiciary Allied Workers Union of Zambia (JAWUZ) president Peter Mwale.
Mwale said that it was unfortunate that government unilaterally made such careless pronouncement of wage freeze which had not been agreed on with the respective unions.
He said that conditions of service for most public workers were regulated through bargaining process in accordance with the Labour and industrial relations ACT Cap 269 of the laws of Zambia.
“Let me state that conditions of service for most public workers are regulated through bargaining process in accordance with the Labour and industrial relations ACT Cap 269 of the laws of Zambia, and currently, most of the represented workers are enjoying existing collective agreements which are still running and will expire next year in January 2014, and against this background, it is unfortunate that government decided to go on with their decision, “ he said.
Mwale said it was shocking to note that the government being the largest employer had imposed a recruitment freeze for 2 years, when it was supposed to consult before making the pronouncement.
“What the PF government must know is that it was elected on the platform of job creation enshrined in the PF manifesto and it is extremely shocking to hear about the issue of job freeze,“ he said.
Mwale further said that they were still many thorny issues regarding workers negotiations that needed to be cleared, and urged government to rescind the decision on wage and recruitment freeze in the public service, to enable the unions even in the private sector to bargain freely for their conditions of service,“ he said.
Mwale maintained that the visibility of the Ministry of Labour in guiding government on such matters had been lacking, adding that the implications of such decisions required competent and professional guidance from the Ministry.