Workers plan Parley protest

We shall march to the National Assembly and picket members of Parliament not to endorse the 2015 national Budget until the wage freeze is lifted, says the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

Mr Roy Mwaba, who is ZCTU secretary general, said yesterday that his trade union was consulting its affiliates with a view of mobilizing workers to demonstrate against the wage freeze.

He was speaking during a media briefing in Lusaka yesterday.

Mr Mwaba warned government of dire consequences over the continued imposition of the wage freeze among public service workers.

But Labour minister Fackson Shamenda said unions should follow the right channels if they wanted to protest.

Mr Shamenda, who declined to say much about government’s two years declaration of the wage freeze, said if trade unions wanted to demonstrate they were free as long as they did it within the confines of the law.

Mr Mwaba said despite the labour movement’s persistent call on government throughout 2014 to have the wage freeze lifted in the 2015 Budget, it has gone ahead to freeze salaries while the cost of living had been rising and fuel prices had increased.

“The Patriotic Front government shall take total responsibility over their arrogant decision on the wage freeze. If we shall not be heard through our demonstration, we shall apply other measures and actions to emphasize our disapproval of the wage freeze,” he said.

He said government should not take the labour movement for a ride and it was aware of their divide and rule amongst trade union leadership.

“Prices of essential goods and services have gone up to levels beyond workers’ buying power. It is shocking that government has turned a blind eye to this situation and decided to continue with the illegal imposition of the wage freeze,” Mr Mwaba said.

ZCTU refused to carry the burden of their lack of foresight and management.“We wonder why government is always requesting stakeholders to make submissions when preparing the Budget and yet such views are not even considered,” Mr Mwaba said. He said the issue of social partnership had been watered down and was a mere academic exercise.“Workers have lost confidence. This is wastage of people’s energy and resources. Workers morale is at its lowest.