Government has urged essential workers in the country to resist the temptation of going on strike.
Minister of Labour and Social Security Fackson Shamenda said an essential worker does not leave his work place even for an hour as doing so would prove catastrophic for the system.
Mr. Shamenda wondered how workers, who consider themselves to be essential, can decide to stay away from work for more than ten days.
He was speaking when he officially opened the eighth General Council for the National Union of Communication Workers (NUCW) in Lusaka today.
He said workers that stay away from work for more than ten days cease to be essential workers and government will therefore not hesitate to fire them.
Mr. Shamenda further implored trade union managements in the country not to be intimidated whenever workers threaten to go on strike, saying no one should be held to ransom.
He said whenever labour disputes occur, it was imperative for all interested parties to sit down and chart the way forward in an amicable manner instead of resorting to protests and demonstrations.
Mr. Shamenda further said it was important for stakeholders in the labour sector to have mutual respect for each other adding that in future, government would like to see a reduction in protests and demonstration be it legal or otherwise.
And Mr. Shamenda said government wants workers to enhance their productivity in order to contribute significantly to the country’s social and economic development.
He said demands for a higher remuneration should be accompanied by enhanced productivity among the country’s workforce.
The Labour Minister said government was in a hurry to turn around the social-economic fortunes of the country noting that this can only happen with the support of the citizenry.
Meanwhile, NUCW General Secretary Liwanga Yuthulu said his union has strove to promote industrial peace between communication workers and government in the past years and will leave no stone unturned to ensure the status call is maintained.
Mr. Yuthulu said the communications sector was a sensitive industry that requires industrial peace in order to have progressive development in the country.
He said the focus of the unions is to recruit more members while at the same time, maintain stability and industrial peace in the sector.