…ZULAWU says civic leaders are part-time workers entitled to an allowance only
THE Zambia United Local Authorities Workers Union has lambasted councillors across the country for demanding monthly salaries given that civic leaders are part- time workers.
ZULAWU president Misheck Nyambose has charged that councillors do not deserve salaries because they are part-time leaders only entitled to a monthly allowance of K700 for their participation in specific council duties.
He also noted that article 264 of the Constitution provided for payment of emoluments to public officers on the recommendation of the relevant authority or commission to the Emoluments Commission and that it was only applicable to full-time employees. He said the demands by councilors were not only illogical but could also drive the already struggling councils further into financial difficulties.
But councillors in Kabwe have warned that they will boycott their orientation workshop scheduled for today if the central Government does not address their demands to replace the K700 monthly allowance with an economically reasonable monthly salary.
And Kitwe councillors on Tuesday rejected a K50 orientation sitting workshop allowance describing the stipend as the ‘‘worst form of mockery’’ to the civic leaders and threatened to boycott their civic duties.
Mr Nyambose said it would not be prudent for the Central Government to consider putting councillors on Government payroll as it would be against the austerity measures proposed in the 2017 national budget.
“ZULAWU would like to condemn demands by councillors that they should be paid a monthly salary by councils. Councils are struggling to pay full time employees their monthly salaries and to add another set of employees, in the name of councillors, would make the financial difficulties of councils even worse,” Mr Nyambose said.
According to Mr Nyambose, councillors have always been part time leaders and could only be entitled to an allowance as and when they participated in specific council duties.
He said even the Local Government Equalization Fund currently being disbursed to councils was insufficient to pay salaries to council workers and councils had serious difficulties to meet the shortfall.
He said it was saddening that some councillors had been using the non-payment of a salary by councils to engage in corrupt practices such as in the illegal allocation of land.
Meanwhile, councillors around the country continue to agitate for pay rises. In Kabwe, councillors gathered at the Civic Centre on Sunday and stated that they could not discharge their duties because of Government’s reluctance to award them salaries as was stipulated in the Constitution.
Speaking on behalf of other councillors, Nakoli ward councillor Charles Chityaka appealed to President Edgar Lungu to advise the Minister of Local Government against claiming that councillors were volunteers and therefore, did not deserve a salary.
“During the campaign periods we worked together from the top, down to the councillor, and that after the elections, everyone was going to be placed on a salary. But it is saddening that the councillors have been left in the cold.
Why? We spent a lot of time and our money in various wards to campaign. Your Excellency President Edgar Lungu, we appeal to the Minister of Local Government Vincent Mwale to stop saying that the job of the councillor is a part time one because it is not written anywhere in the Constitution,” Mr Chityaka said.
And in Kitwe, councillors on Tuesday protested the K50 sitting allowance for their orientation workshop and threatened to take unspecified action if the central government was going to continue treating them as casual workers.
However, Kitwe deputy mayor Evaristo Chilufya, who was also at the workshop, said he was not aware about the protest by the councillors, saying it was news to him.