Labour movement fragmented – unionist

THE labour movement in Zambia is highly fragmented and has lost vibrancy, therefore cannot influence any change in terms of policy, former unionist Yotam Mtayachalo has said.

Mr Mtayachalo who is former secretary general of the National Energy Sector and Allied Workers Union (NESAWU) said there was need for the labour movement in Zambia to go back to the drawing board and recover its lost glory.

He said it was clear that the labour movement could not influence change in Zambia and that more needed to be done before this could be attained.

Mr Mtayachalo said although he supported calls for country wide protests, he noted that it was difficult for the labour movement in Zambia to achieve this as they were divisions in their rank and file.

“I doubt if these protests shall yield desirable results to compel government to change its decision on the wage freeze. This is so because the workers are divided and passive as a result successive governments have taken advantage of their passiveness.

“These workers starting from their union leaders did not understand the spirit of solidarity. No one sympathizes with the other, they all mind their own business and this is evident when the nurses staged a lone protest and when they were fired, the Zambia Union of Nurses Organisation (ZUNO) became a lone voice. There was no word of mass protest in solidarity with the dismissed nurses even from the main body the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU),” he said.

Mr Mtayachalo said the major culprits were the workers themselves who do not offer solidarity to their colleagues.

He was reacting to calls by the ZCTU to go for nationalwide protests against the two year wage freeze.