The labour movement has warned government of dire consequence if it does not lift the imposed wage freeze and halt the ongoing pension reforms, says Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Leonard Hikaumba.
Hikaumba said the unions were ready to take any action if government did not answer their call.
“The unions are still discussing what action to take if the government will not lift the imposed wage freeze. And we want to say that we are ready to take any action against government,” Hikaumba said.
He said the unions were totally against the wage freeze because it was illegal and unfair for the workers to be getting salaries that were constant.
Hikaumba said government should also engage all stakeholders both in the public and private sector to reach a consensus on the current outstanding issues.
He said the labour movement was ready to demand and initiate an urgent dialogue with government and social partners to agree on the way toward. Hikaumba said if government failed to meet the demands of the labour movement, action will be taken without delay.
“The wage freeze on civil servants should be reversed because it abrogates the right to free collective bargaining as enshrined in industrial and labour relations Act Cap 269 of the laws of Zambia,” he said.
Hikaumba said that the labour movement was also concerned with the continued tax evasion and the absence of equity in tax collection.
He said it was in this regard that the union was demanding for immediate tax reforms in order to ensure equity in tax collection which would lead to increased tax revenue especially from economically productive sectors such as mining. And Hikaumba said if the amnesty given to the dismissed nurses by government was genuine, the nurses should be reinstated unconditionally, without asking them to reapply.
He commended government for the amnesty granted to the dismissed nurses who went on an illegal strike last year but said that government should learn from those strikes and ensure that it addressed the issues that led to the strike. Hikaumba however said his organisation wanted to see that the constitution making process was concluded as soon as possible.
He said his organisation would work with the other organisations that were still calling for the release of the new constitution.
Hikaumba said government should give a framework on how the process will be taken until the constitution was enacted.