Press Briefing by ZUFIAW General Secretary Mr Chingati Msiska
Members of the Press
Ladies and Gentlemen
Let me begin by thanking you all for coming to this press briefing and I wish you all Happy 2018.
Being a Labour Movement in the financial sector, the Union is duty bound to provide oversight over certain salient issues both within the labour movement and the nation in general. As such, ZUFIAW hereby, presents this press briefing to provide its position on some of the issues affecting workers in the country.
State of the Union
ZUFIAW successfully held its 12th Quadrennial Conference, comprising of the Youth, Women and Main Conferences, from the 18th to the 23rd of December 2017, at the New Fairmount Hotel in Livingstone. At these conferences, the following were elected into the respective executive committees;
Chairperson- Ms. Etambuyu Ziwa
Secretary- Ms. Mwape Mutolilo Chiumya
Treasurer- Mr. Lazarous Banda
Committee Member- Mr. Tyson Chanda
Committee Member- Mr.Chisenga Kubaya
Chairperson- Ms. Maureen Mwanangweshi
Vice chairperson- Mrs. Christabel Bwalya
Secretary- Mrs. Lusa Mulanda (Full time employee at Secretariat)
Vice secretary- Mrs. Marjory Mutale
Treasurer- Ms. Sylvia Mwansa
Com. Member- Ms. Lucy Senti
Com. Member- Ms. Monde mumeka
Com. Member- Ms. Hellen Mkandawire
National Executive Council
President- Mr. Ackim H. Mweemba
Vice President- Mr. Kasapo S. Kabende
General Secretary- Mr. Chingati Msiska
- General Secretary Fin and Inv. Mr. Mutelo Mabenga
- General Secretary Org & Rec. Mrs. Edna Dondolo Haacuma
Trustee- Mr. Collins Chiwati
Trustee- Mrs. Hellen Chamyolo
Trustee- Mr. Dickson Hachiboola
The National Youth Committee Chairperson and Secretary as well as the National Women’s Committee chairperson and Vice Secretary shall also sit on the National Executive Council, representing their respective interest groups.
Labour Movement Expectations on the Labour Law Reforms
The attainment of Decent Work for all remains at the heart of the work agenda of the Labour Movement in Zambia, and Trade Unions, ZUFIAW included, remain committed to championing the cause to reform the country’s labour laws. In order to achieve this, the Union shall not just sit by and watch employers continue exploiting workers in the country due to some lapses in the labour laws and over the years, ZUFIAW has been working with mother bodies ZCTU and FFTUZ, with support from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Lusaka Office and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation (FES), in developing improvement areas in the country’s labour laws. Some of these improvement areas include the following;
- The need to introduce a new statutory minimum wage orders to cover more sectors.
- The introduction of a social protection scheme developed to provide adequate maternity benefits. Further, there is also need to expand social protection coverage in order to ensure harmonization of the different statutes regarding management of social security schemes.
- The need to amend section 3 of the ILRA to ensure that workers without managerial responsibilities and were excluded from union representation because of the restrictive definition of management would have the right to form or belong to trade unions.
- The need to address the issue of free riders who benefit from conditions of service negotiated between the Union and Management, but do not belong to the Union nor in Management.
- The provision of a clear comprehensive framework outlining the grounds under which strikes and lockouts may be taken and remove provisions that require the conduct of a ballot before embarking on a strike or lockout.
- The need to determine the situations in which fixed-term contracts may be used by employers and stipulate a maximum cumulative duration for employing a worker on successive fixed-term contracts.
We are confident that once these lacunas in the labour laws are addressed, the workers in the country shall have access to decent work as well as the protection of their economic, social and cultural rights.
Labour Movement Position on the alleged corruption in the country.
Being a representative of workers in the country, the Labour Movement is mandated by its members to provide checks and balances to those tasked with the management of public affairs. It is in line with this mandate that from time to time, the Labour Movement speaks out when concerns of allegations and signs of corruption are raised by workers and the general public.
Of late, there have been a lot of allegations of corruption against the leaders in Government. ZUFIAW does not and shall not condone corrupt practices and the mismanagement of tax payer’s funds by those entrusted with the responsibility to manage these funds. Corruption is a cancer and a danger to a country’s economic growth.
Over the past few months, there have been numerous debates on transparency in public procurement such as fire trucks for municipalities, the ambulances for health centres and the construction cost of the 321 km Lusaka – Ndola dual carriage way, when there were cheaper alternatives available.
Ladies and Gentlemen, regardless of whether the costs were justifiable or not, we need to ask ourselves as a country; where is the morality in spending so much money in this manner, in the midst of high levels of poverty and unemployment? The Union is of the firm belief that these resources could have been better utilized on other poverty alleviation initiatives which could have helped reduce the adverse effects of poverty on the Zambian people. Health, education and the current problems in the agricultural sector with regards to the supply of farming inputs are some of the key areas which still need attention in this country.
We would like to remind the President His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu that his party was elected into government on the premise of being pro-poor. But when reports of mismanagement and corruption start surfacing, citizens have every right to feel betrayed. We therefore appeal to the President to show, in no uncertain terms, that he is a champion of the people, and fighting corruption should be one of his top priorities.
Our leaders in government have the responsibility to be transparent and lead by example. We need to realize that Zambia does not belong to one person alone, we are all stakeholders. Therefore, our leaders must ensure that all the citizens are equitable beneficiaries of the nation’s resources and ensure that no one is disadvantaged because of corruption.
However, we would also like to call on the general public to be cautious in the manner in which they raise their concerns over these allegations. The Union has noted with regret in the past that most of the corruption allegations that have been raised have not adequately been supported with concrete evidence which can enable our investigative wings such as the Anti-Corruption Commission and the police to follow up. We hereby, call upon those raising these allegations, especially former government Ministers that resigned on the basis of corruption, to be bold and present compelling evidence.
ZUFIAW is also following the recently presented Auditor General’s report which highlighted numerous irregularities in various government departments. We hereby, call upon investigative wings and mandated law enforcement agencies to effectively follow up these cases and bring those found wanting to book.
Effects of the Cholera Outbreak on the Economy and the Zambian Workforce
The largest workforce in the country is in the informal sector and this sector has been badly affected by the outbreak of Cholera. The recent ban on travel and importation of fresh farm produce from Zambia by some neighbouring countries has had an adverse effect on businesses and their workers due to loss of income from trade. Locally, the recent closure of markets and vending has also resulted in the loss of revenue for most houses. The corporate houses have also been highly affected in terms of loss of business and the adoption of alternative operation strategies which have sometimes resulted in higher costs of production and operation.
There is urgent need for us as a nation to quickly resolve this situation in order to secure the livelihood of the Zambian people. In this regard, it is incumbent upon government to firstly, provide an update on the actual cost of the epidemic in terms of loss of revenue to the economy and secondly, the projected impact of the disease going forward.
ZUFIAW joins the rest of the country in the fight against cholera and we hereby, call upon all our members and stakeholders to also put in place measures which shall help to reduce the spread and the impact of this disease on our families and our economy. We urge our cooperating partners to consider introducing cleanliness and awareness campaigns on cholera within their work places and help to combat this disease.
I thank you all for your attention.
General Secretary- ZUFIAW (0966- 785- 635)
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