Judiciary workers to protest wage freeze

Judiciary Allied Workers Union of Zambia has threatened to demonstrate if the government does not rescind its decision to freeze wages and employment for two years.

Judiciary Allied Workers Union of Zambia (JAWUZ) president Peter Mwale said that the issue of wage freeze could not stand for two years because it was too much for civil servants to endure.

Mwale said that the unions would have no option but to take measures that would safe guard workers.

He insisted that the decision was an exhibition of total disregard of industrial and labour relations and could not be condoned by the unions.

Mwale reiterated that the conditions of service for most public workers were regulated through a 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 unfortunately that government decided to go on with their decision,” he said.

He said that it was unfortunate that the government had made such a decision without even involving the unions, but stressed that the unions would not condone the decisions.

“We are appealing to the President to reverse the decision just like he did with the SI 89 of 2013, because the decision will not work to the people expectation. We are not happy with it and people cannot endure such a situation for two years, and if we are not heard, we will not have an option but to demonstrate, ” he said.

Mwale said that they were still many issues regarding workers negotiations that needed to be cleared, and getting excited with such a negative decision was unfortunate.

He urged the government to rescind the decision on wage and recruitment freeze in the public service, to enable the unions to bargain freely for their conditions of service.

Mwale said that the unions were not ready to support such a decision because it would adversely affect the nation, and would lead to high poverty levels being recorded.

He wondered what would happen if the private sector also imposes a wage freeze on its employees, adding that these were some of the issues the government was overlooking.

He said the issue of the wage freeze by government was not a good labour practice and advised government to learn to consult other stakeholders in making decisions to avoid confusion like was the case now.