High salary demands slammed
The labour movement in Zambia has been advised not to demand for unrealistic and high-priced wages during collective bargaining sessions with employers.
The advice was given by a member of the Zambia Employers Federation (ZFE) Mr Stephen Sikombe who said that such outrageous demands had the potential of souring industrial relations because employers may be reluctant to enter into negotiations.
Mr Sikombe said this during the Labour Day celebrations in Kitwe on Thursday where he said that there have been cases where negotiations for salary increments have protracted mainly because some unions were making unrealistic and unaffordable demands of increments ranging between100 per cent and 180 per cent.
“Employers have been unable to award such increments, because they have been found not only unrealistic, but also unaffordable. Such demands have the potential to sour our industrial relations in the country as employers may be very reluctant to negotiate with such unions,” Mr Sikombe said.
Mr Sikombe said, while ZFE understood the fact that the cost of living was always rising which was putting the employees in difficult situations, it should also be recognized that the cost of doing business in Zambia was as high as the cost of living, and so unrealistic demands for salary increment would be detrimental to both the workers and the industry.
“We call upon our workers and their union leaders to be realistic in their demands during collective bargaining sessions and also to avoid confrontational approaches,” He said.
But Zambia Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) Trustee Betty Mutambo advised the employers not to take advantage of the increase cost of doing business to exploit workers or to effect lay off workers.
Mr Mutambo said unions would not allow the situation where employers take advantage of the high cost of doing business to exploit or lay off the workers.
She said the labour movement was watching with keen interest the outcome of the current and on-going negotiations for improved of the conditions of service for public service workers.
“It does not need one to be an economist to know that the cost of living has been changing almost every six months,
“We are not happy to see that the biggest employer in Zambia, the government is leading by bad example. What will stop other employers from following government?” Ms Mutambo said.