THE Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has said that no worker in the judiciary will go on strike contrary to some reports in some sections of the media because negotiations between Government and employee unions had not collapsed.
The Judicial and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (JAWUZ) last week threatened that there would be no court sessions this week after the union and Government allegedly failed to agree on the terms and demands of the judiciary workers.
But when contacted for a comment, ZCTU secretary general Cosmas Mukuka told the Daily Nation yesterday that judiciary workers will continue discharging their duties as their union continued engaging Government over the collective bargaining process.
Mr. Mukuka explained that ZCTU and JAWUZ secretariat had a meeting yesterday at which it was clarified that the bargaining process between the union and the Government had not yet started as earlier reported in the media.
He clarified that JAWUZ had initially written to Government through the chief administrator over the need for the two parties to start the bargaining process but that the chief administrator had not communicated Government’s position, which led to the union threatening to down tools this week.
He explained that after the meeting yesterday, it was resolved that judiciary workers continue discharging their duties as the umbrella body engaged Government in a bid to resolve the impasse.
“As far as we are concerned, no employee is going on strike and court sessions have continued as usual because after the meeting, it was discovered that there was no engagement between the union and Government and so there was no way a dispute could have been declared because there was no engagement.
“What the union had done was to write to the Government to start the bargaining process but Government failed to communicate back to the union and that is how the union threatened to go on a strike,” Mr. Mukuka said.
He explained that it was unfortunate that communication breakdown between the parties had led to the situation where workers almost downed tools.
“It is unfortunate that because of the failure by the two parties to engage each other, the employees were almost reaching the extent of going on strike but this could not have been the case if the two parties engaged each other.
“We have always advocated that people should discuss and where discussions are not fruitful, then reconciliators can be brought in to try and resolve the issue unlike the situation now,” he said.
He has requested Government to engage the union on the matter as keeping quiet would create unnecessary agitation which would in turn paralyse the judiciary.
“We are just encouraging the chief administrator to ensure that the two parties engage in discussions so that they exhaust their negotiations so that a common understanding can be reached rather than having these unnecessary stand-offs,” he said.