97 ZSIC retirees die fighting for benefits


BTHE more than 700 surviving former Zambia State Insurance Corporation (ZSIC) employees who have been fighting for their terminal benefits amounting to K34,million for the past 25 years, have threatened to take the matter to the Constitutional Court.

Ninety-seven of their colleagues have died, leaving their families poor and financially stranded.

In an interview with the Daily Nation, ZSIC retirees’ chairperson Pule Mwila disclosed that ZSIC had refused to pay them them their terminal benefits since 1991 when they retired, despite the corporation losing the case in the Industrial Relations Court and the Supreme Court.

Mr Mwila said that they had taken the matter to the Industrial Relations Court which he said had ruled in their favour.

He explained that they were prompted to take ZSIC to the Industrial Relations Court in 1996 because the corporation had for a long time failed to pay them their dues.

Mr Mwila wondered why ZSIC had defied a court ruling to pay the retirees their terminal benefits, warning that they would do whatever it took to fight for their money.

“Now we are only somewhere around 700 who are still alive but suffering because ZSIC has not paid us our terminal benefits. We took the matter to the Industrial Relations Court in 1996 who ruled in our favour but the corporation still has not given us our money. I wonder why ZSIC has defied a court ruling to pay us our terminal benefits,” he said.

And the ZSIC retirees’ pressure group leader, Marko Phiri, warned that the group would take the issue to the Constitutional Court because the corporation had defied an order from the Industrial Relations Court.

Mr Phiri said that ZSIC had appealed the judgment of the IRC to the Supreme Court in 2004 which upheld the ruling of the IRC.

“After tabulating the figures, our lawyer Mutakela Lisimba submitted to ZSIC all the total costs (K34, 000,000) but they did not reply or respond. All retirees had refused to accept the amount because it did not reflect the correct figures.

‘‘We don’t know why it has taken ZSIC a long time to pay us our dues even when the Supreme Court ruled in our favour,’’ he said.

Mr Phiri has since appealed to President Edgar Lungu to intervene in the matter since he was a lawyer who understood legal matters very well.

He said that out of the 438 members that took the case to the Industrial Relations Court, 97 had already died, leaving their families in abject poverty and other financial hardships.

Mr Phiri noted that it was unfortunate that ZSIC had refused to pay them their dues even after the Industrial Relations Court and the Supreme Court had ruled against the corporation.