ZCTU vows to fight wage freeze

“We shall not allow the Wage Freeze to continue in 2015 and it must be killed immediately,” says Zambia Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) president Roy Mwaba.

He maintained that the wage freeze declared by the PF government was illegal and vowed that ZCTU would never accept it even in 2015.

“We took government to the Supreme Court, they lost the case and in 1991 the International Labour Organisation ruled that government should reverse its decision on the Wage Freeze,” Mr Mwaba said.

Mr Mwaba was speaking to Journalists in Lusaka yesterday during press conference on submission to the 2015 National Budget.

He said government was defiling the court and ILO orders.

“This year, government imposed a two year wage freeze subjecting public service workers to misery and economic slavery,”

“Therefore, we reject the continued artificial suffering of public service workers that comes with the imposition of the wage freeze while the cost of living continues to rise,” Mr Mwaba said.

But Labour minister Fackson Shamenda said ZCTU should not be engaging the media whenever they felt aggrieved on labour matters.

Mr Shamenda maintained that his ministry was still open to negotiations on any matter involving the union movements.

And ZCTU has advised government to introduce a windfall tax on sales of copper and increase mineral loyalty tax from the current 6 per cent to 10 per cent.

“The revenue measures will allow for an upward adjustment of the minimum taxable thresholds which is proposed to move from the current K3, 000 to K4, 000 in line with the escalating cost of living,” he said

Mr Mwaba said the 2015 National Budget should have adequate allocations for improving personal emoluments to compensate for the loss of real earnings which arose from the increased cost of living.

“There should also be adequate allocation to settle outstanding arrears on leave travel benefits, repatriation allowances, other outstanding allowances, and to correct the wage distortion that are offshoots of the harmonization measures,” Mr Mwaba said.

And commenting on the escalating bank lending rates, Mr Mwaba said government should introduce fixed interest rates for the public service employees whose income had remained static in the face of increasing interest rates and high cost of living.

“As the cost of accommodation keeps rising, government should also consider providing social housing for public service workers because accommodation continues to take up a big share of workers’ incomes,” Mr Mwaba said.

He further said the government must focus on strengthening fiscal management in an effort to narrow the fiscal deficit and also consider alternatives for extending tax collection.

“There should be concrete measures to broaden the tax base and expand the pallet of potential taxes to generate additional government revenues,”

“Government should also streamline expenditure and improve tax administration measures, improving tax morality, regulating spending on infrastructure by formulating a national infrastructure projects,” Mr Mwaba said.