Public Service strike looms, says NAREP

Zambia may soon face a national wide strike if government does not solve the collective dispute declared by the 10 public service unions, says National Restoration Party (NAREP) presidential assistant for administration David Kapoma.

Mr Kapoma said the declared collective disputes against Patriotic Front (PF) government was a matter of great concern and charged that if government did not handle the dispute properly, Zambia may face a national wide strike soon.

He said that NAREP was particularly concerned with the teachers and the nurses unions.

“As NAREP we are very concerned over the failed salary negotiations between the PF government and the teachers and nurses unions,” Mr Kapoma said.

He said it was unfortunate that the dispute had been declared at a time when the government introduced the wage freeze policy.

“What is happening to the public service unions is a clear indication that PF never consulted other opposition political parties on how best it could have resolved the unions concerns in order to avoid the dispute,” Mr Kapoma explained.

Mr Kapoma said the declared collective dispute by the teachers, nurses and other eight public service unions would greatly affect many poor Zambians.

“The declared dispute has too much impact on many Zambians because the majority are poor and teachers and nurses are the only breadwinners in many Zambian families,” Mr Kapoma said.

He said there was need for the government to act in a manner that would address the current problems in order to prevent public service workers from going on strike.

Mr Kapoma said the PF government must seriously consult opposition political parties and other stakeholders on how best the problem could be solved.

“As NAREP we cannot allow such a situation where all the ten public service unions declare a collective dispute against government,” Mr Kapoma said.

He further said Zambians should not be surprised when public service workers call for a national wide strike because it was clear that government was not ready for dialogue with its stakeholders on the matter.

On Monday Forum for Democratic Development (FDD) President Edith Nawakwi advised PF government to quickly resolve the declared disputes by all the ten public service workers unions in order to avoid a countrywide strike.

“If this labour dispute is not quickly resolved, it may result into a countrywide strike. The consequences of such industrial unrest are too ghastly to contemplate,” Ms Nawakwi said.