Open Society Foundation (OSF) executive director Sunday Chanda has branded the labour movement in the country inept and disgraceful and as in institution which had sacrificed the working class at the altar of politics and financial gain.
Chanda has charged that some senior leaders in the labour movement were known for selling out their own members and were allegedly living on political manipulation to maintin their flamboyant life styles as union bureaucrats.
Chanda said the current crop of leaders in the labour movement could not earn the respect of the Patriotic Front (PF) government because most of them were opportunists who had infiltrated trade unions.
He said it was painful that while more than 100 nurses had been condemned to jobleseness by a government that had been preaching the creation of more jobs for citizens, the labour leaders were having it easy in their air-conditioned offices.
Chanda explained that proverbial adage of an injury to one was an injury to all in the labour movement had completely died because of the self-interests the union leaders were pursuing.
He has cautioned workers across the country to be wary of their union leaders most of whom he said were cowards and opportunits who had ifiltrated their unions with no moral code to represent the people they were supposed to serve.
Chanda told the Daily Nation in a stament that by egalitarian standards of solidarity, the current labour movement was the weakest in the history of the country and advised some leaders in some unions to resign for having betrayed the trust of the workers.
He said the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) should retrace its steps to the days of the Frederick Chiluba whose movement made first republican president and his UNIP accept that the era of one party particpatory democracy had died.
Chanda said the labour movement during Dr Chiluba’s reign as a trade union leader was truly dedicated to to the welfare of the workers and that the labour leaders were ready to sacrifice their lives by getting arrested and going to jail.
He said the current crop of leadears in the labour movement would rather sacrifice workers for fear of getting into bad books with the government of the day.
“Zambia’s labour movement is a disgrace to the working class. Workers across the country must be woried that while a handful of their leaders mean well, there is a hoard of leaders in the labour movement who are opportunists, cowards and sell-outs. ,” Chanda said.
He wondered what could have suddenly changed regarding President Sata’s assurance for the Ministry of Health to have decided to dismiss the nurses.
“The approach the Ministry of Health has adopted in dealing with the nurses is nothing but a fear-instiling tactic that would only serve to weaken a few souls and would not be able to address the root cause of the problems facing the nurses.We are calling for a general amnesty and engagement between government and the nurses under a fair and trusting environment,” Chanda said.
He stated that dismissing the nurses was not a victory that government should celebrate and be proud about it and has appealed to President Sata to reverse the decision by the Ministry of Health.