Minister of Labour and Social Security Fackson Shamenda has called on trade unions in the country to work with government in safeguarding the needs of workers.
Mr. Shamenda said trade unions were important because they provide checks and balances to the government.
Mr. Shamenda has since called on unions to train in labour issues and research for them to provide necessary advice to government.
The minister said this in Lusaka today after touring the Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW) training centre in Olympia Park.
The centre, which was launched last month by ZUFIAW, is being run by affiliate member organisations which include the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and Federation of Free Trade Unions (FFTUZ).
It will be used to train unions in labour related issues.
Mr. Shamenda said when trade unions are trained, they will have an enlightened leadership that can find amicable solutions to most of the country’s labour ills.
He stressed the need for collaboration and transparency between government and trade unions saying mutual respect between the two will go a long way in safeguarding the interests of the workers who are the most affected by all labour related decisions.
And Mr. Shamenda has said government remains committed to protecting workers at Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) following the mine’s revelations to dismiss 2,000 employees.
Last week, KCM announced plans to lay off 2,000 workers citing falling copper prices in the last year.
But Mr. Shamenda said government has engaged the mine in dialoguing adding that it was important for employers to first find amicable solutions to problems before resolving to dismiss workers.
And ZUFIAW acting president Chingati Msiska has commended government for stepping in to halt plans by KCM to lay off workers.
Mr. Msiska said the union’s desire was to have jobs created and not lost in the country.
He said government should handle the KCM saga carefully because it has potential to affect a lot of Zambians.
And Mr. Msiska has said the move to set up a labour training centre was testimony that the union was prudently using its resources.
Meanwhile, the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) have donated KR10,000 and KR5, 000 respectively to the training centre as start-up capital.
NAPSA Executive Director Charles Mpundu said the scheme will continue to support the training centre and has since called on other financial institutions to emulate ZUFIAW.
And ZCTU Secretary General Roy Mwaba called on unions in the country to work together for the benefit of their members.
Mr. Mwaba said his union will utilise the new training centre to improve on its capacity.