2018 Labour Day Speech in Livingstone by the Vice President- FFTUZ/President ZUFIAW
(1st May 2018)
The Guest of Honour
The Provincial Permanent Secretary
The District Commissioner
The Representative of Zambia Congress of Trade Unions
The Representative of Zambia Federation of Employers
My Fellow Workers and Labour Leaders
Ladies and Gentlemen
I bring you revolutionary greetings from the Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia, Labour day is meant to recognise workers’ contributions to the wellbeing of our society. Therefore, it is very important day to us.
The guest of Honour, this years’ Labour Day theme, “Building Partnerships for Sustainable National Development through Decent Job Creation and Social Justice,” is a well thought theme.
The theme has come at a time when the Government through its massive development, is working hard in ensuring that it takes developmental projects to all parts of the country.
The theme also addresses the importance of creating decent jobs which is a critical component of national prosperity.
The Guest of Honour, the provision of decent jobs can only be realised at a point where workers begin to get sustainable salaries and not the Slavery Salaries that the workers in our category are currently getting.
Yes, it is a well-known fact that Wages in the private Sector are very poor. These wages and Salaries cannot sustain the basic needs of our Workers. The guest of honour, some efforts has been made to increase public workers’ Salaries by this Government. This effort was initially seen to have been in ample measure. Unfortunately, with time the salaries and wages that were increased have become meaningless especially with the many taxes imposed on them. We therefore strongly appeal to the Government to consider leading the way by adjusting Salaries and Wages to levels which can easily meet the challenges of our workers. This move can also make those in the private sector see the need to start paying Workers living Wages.
LABOUR LAW REFORMS
The guest of honour, a process of reforming Labour Laws was initiated. It is unfortunately that the process has been very slow. We urge the Government to ensure that this process is taken to parliament in the next sitting so as to alleviate the many difficulties in the labour market. It is high time that Government, through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, put in serious measures to stop Casualization and contractual jobs which are permanent in nature. Our concern on this issue is that despite the government coming up with a piece of legislation to end the vice, we still have companies looking for loopholes in the law. Employers are enslaving our people through these kind of jobs.
The guest of honour, whilst the labour movement is happy that Quasi government institutions like worker’s compensation control fund board, National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE), Zambia National Building Society (ZNBS), National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) have adhered to the government directive to end this labour curse.
Guest of honour, the union is at pains to convince some of the companies in the private sector because government controlled institutions like Zambia Revenue Authority and Bank of Zambia which play a very critical role in the management of this economy are in the forefront of enslaving poor workers of this great nation. From where we stand as a labour movement, it can only be one of these two reasons. It is either this vice is being perpetuated by the government through the line Ministry in charge or Management of these two institutions are undermining the good efforts of the government. This puzzle will remain a night mare to us as long as our people continue being impoverished in their own country. Our resolve to fight for a just society remains high on the agenda, we call upon the President of the Republic of Zambia, His Excellency Edgar Chagwa Lungu to come to the aid of these poor souls. We know that employers are excited about Casualization because they are taking advantage of high unemployment levels in our Country.
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