2018 Labour Day Speech Delivered At The Labour Day Award Giving Ceremony Branch Chairperson On Wednesday 2nd May 2018 At The Bank Of Zambia Social Club, Lusaka.

(LATE POST)

 The Governor

The Deputy Governors

The General Secretary – ZUFIAW and His Entourage

All Directors and Assistant Directors

The Regional Office Union Branch Chairperson and His Entourage 

Fellow Workers, Ladies and Gentlemen

 On behalf of the members of the Union in the Bank, I thank God and feel greatly honoured to stand here before you all on this very important day. in our institution in as far as the workers are concerned.  This day is celebrated worldwide to mark the hard work and dedication of the workers towards the organisation irrespective of their power and positions, roles and responsibilities. Commemorating this day is one very significant way of  acknowledging the devotion and contributions of the workers regardless of their status who, during the year 2017,  have ensured that the prosperity, strength , and wellbeing of the Bank.institution they work for as well as the citizens  and the nation at large are achieved and sustained for national development to benefit all. It is for this reason that we must bear in mind that workers must always be treated as a valuable asset whose input not only contributes to the prosperity of the institution but to all other stakeholders as well. he/she works for but to many others beyond.

Guest of Honour, I would like to report that our members the workers participated in the National Commemoration of the Labour Day by taking part in the march past held at the Freedom Statue on Tuesday 1 May 2018. As a Union We would like to continue encourage members of staff nominated to march to feel proud that they have been nominated to represent the Bank at a National Event.  To my fellow workers, labour day is our day so bear in mind that where workers gather in such a manner, they showcase their strength which indicates how effectively they can struggle to bring in positive reforms for the working class of the society.

Guest of Honour, Fellow workers, this commemoration should bring to our mind what we had set forth for ourselves to achieve during the past year and check ourselves as to whether that we had planned has been achieved in line with the standards set, i.e. the institution strategic goals and set objectives. I know during the course of this afternoon, Management will be awarding some workers that have been identified as having performed exceptionally well in line with what we had set for ourselves. Join me in applauding the Bank that it has been consistent through and through in sponsoring workers to participate in the National Event as well as organising an in house event like this one where it is recognising workers by way of giving awards to deserving workers. Furthermore, we would like to appreciate the Bank Management for keeping its word in hosting this function a day after the actual Labour Day.

Guest of Honour, ladies and Gentlemen, let me focus on this year’s labour day theme: Building Partnerships for Sustainable National Development Through Descent Job Creation and Social Justice.”   

Before I get to what the focus for this year’s Labour Day is, it is worth reminding ourselves of the themes that we have had for the past years:

YEAR                                      THEME
2015                                       “Promoting National Economic Growth Through Job Creation, Free Collective Bargaining & Respecting Workers Rights”
2016                                       “Achieving National Development Through Productive Decent Work, Sustainable Job Creation and Social Justice”.
2017                                       “Securing Decent Work for Sustainable Social Economic Development”.

Looking at the previous themes, one could say that a worker is highly considered
as the main driving force to bringing about sustainable economic development
in our country.

 It is an undeniable known fact that sustainable national development involves labour that is well engaged as it is one of the most valuable factors of production. In looking at the theme for this year, I would therefore like us to earnestly reflect upon these three things which are  Building Partnerships, Descent job creation and Social Justice and see how we could actualise them in order that we may achieve sustainable national development which is a priority for our country Zambia. These are:

  1. Building Partnerships

In building partnerships, I must however state that our Memorandum of Recognition Agreement as it stands now is in conflict out of tune with the current Industrial and Labour Relations Act in many clauses which require amendments legislation in many areas and needs to be urgently re-aligned. Further delays in doing this will not help us in building a genuine partnership that we require at all times are aspiring for. The Union will do everything possible to ensure that the revisions which started over ten years ago are completed this year. We beseech our partners to have the same focus like ours to ensure that the constitutive document of this relationship is up to date.

  1. Decent job creation

On creation of decent jobs, we may say, our institution has created jobs, yes it has created jobs but do those jobs created have all the aspects of a decent job as per ILO/ UN description? One thing that the Labour movement hasthe Union has been concerned  that the Bank has created  jobs but engaged workers on short term  renewable contracts so that they limit their freedom of association and collective bargaining. You only learn about their grievances when you meet them along bank corridors. I will leave this matter to the General Secretary for more expression on this matter, as we appealed to his office to intervene.Let’s check ourselves and our policies of employment and job creation that we have put in place –Do they promote decent job creation as per ILO/UN standard? Let’s always remember that the creation of a decent job is a catalyst to engaging highly motivated productive worker.

  1. Social Justice
  2. Union/ Management Relationship

Guest of Honour, Ladies and gentlemen, I am glad to report that during the past year, the Union collaborated with management through monthly Union/Management Meetings, Quarterly Meetings with DGA as well as other impromptu meetings on a number of issues. All this was always to sort out any short comings or concerns in order to improve and cement our relationship. Among the issues that we worked “underground” with management was the issue of revision of travel allowances, uniforms just to mention a few.

This however, does not mean that we sorted out all the problems that we had, but I can guarantee the workers that we are still on talking terms on the unresolved issues and we are working together to find a solution. Our only concern is that we at times feel we are making two steps forward and one step backwards when it comes to things that we have agreed upon. One such issue is the issue of overtime. As workers, we have our Collective Agreement (CA) and we do not create overtime on our own. So ensure that I work within the confines of my terms of engagement of which the CA forms part of it and not what is not there.

Talking about our Collective Agreement, the current one, Governor, is expiring on 31st July 2018. As a very proactive Union Executive that wants to conclude a new one on time and undoubtedly get a “Mwabombeni Cheque from you for that”, we already submitted our very genuine demands to management. We believe they have gone through them because we know they have received them and we should be commencing the negotiations soon.

To my fellow workers, I say let’s fully focus on work because good things are on our way.

Management also sponsored a joint union/management collective bargaining workshop in Kabwe where the two partners shared the platform to discuss the best way of resolving bargaining issues without resorting to their party intenventions.

  1. Staff Discipline

Guest of honour, fellow workers, the Union takes the issue of discipline as a very important element of our life style in the Bank as well as outside the Bank. Belonging to an institution that regulates others puts us on high demand that our dealings and conduct be above board wherever we are.

In the past year, the Union noted a marked reduction in disciplinary cases being dealt with. This is very encouraging indeed. I would like to urge all staff to take keen interest in reading Bank policy documents so that you may be knowledgeable and act according to the demands of the institution.

  Awards to Deserving Employees

As I conclude, let me say this once again, the Union appreciates managements move to recognise exceptional performance and conduct by employees and will this afternoon be awarding those identified as exceptional ones in the following categories:

  • Long Service- 15 Years Unbroken Service
  • Most Disciplined
  • Most Alert and Vigilant
  • Most Dependable

I must however say that information reaching us as a Union is that only seven (7) departmental heads submitted names of their staff to be considered for awards. Governor, this is discouraging not encouraging at all. My question to them, which I believe they should answer when they come to see you is, “Are there no workers in their departments who are high performers and deserve to be considered for any award or is it that they do not pay attention to how their subordinates work?

Whilst I am still on the issue of awards, I would like to put it to the Executives management that they should also seriously consider awarding the top three Departments that have scored highly in terms of meeting the Bank’s strategic goals for the year. I am sure, this will be a great motivation to the Directors as they do not qualify to be given awards in the categories that we have except the long service one.

To those that who are receiving awards today, I say congratulations, it is an honour to be recognised from among the many employees. Keep it up. To those of us who haven’t received, let’s not despair. Let’s challenge ourselves to work harder for our performance to be recognised for an award next time. To Heads of Departments whose members of staff were nominated but are not on the final list that will be read for awards,  we would like to urge you that you write such employees letters of recognition copied to Human Resources. It will be a motivation to them.

Let me end by Finally, I wishing all of us a joyful and blessed celebration. May God richly bless us, our Institution and Nation for harmony and success in our duties as we strive to perform better in all our areas.

 

 I Thank You All    

 

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