Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Emerine Kabanshi has called on the union leaders in the country to be truthful to the workers they represent in order to move forward.
And Ms Kabanshi has expressed disappointment with union leaders’ disagreement over government’s two year wage freeze.
“ The issue of wage freeze that unions keep bringing up was part of the collective agreement that was made between unions and government at the time when government increased salaries for all civil servants, and for them, to speak against it now is disappointing”, she said
Ms Kabanshi who was speaking during the Labour Day celebrations in Choma May 1st said government is employing various strategies to address the challenge of unemployment particularly among the youth to promote sustainable development.
She said government is implementing the industrialization and job creation strategy with a view of creating one million jobs by 2016.
The Minister added that government attaches great importance to the labour laws to ensure that they meet the aspirations and rights of the workers.
Ms Kabanshi also said government will not come up with a constitution that will favour one grouping but rather an all-inclusive constitution.
And speaking earlier, ZCTU representative Jeffrey Simuntala said the wage freeze allegedly imposed by government is impacting negatively on workers especially that the cost of living has continued to rise.
Mr Simuntala said government is the biggest employer in the country and that any actions taken such as the freeze on wages will quickly be emulated by the private sector.
“There is absolutely no rational for government to freeze wages when prices of commodities are being hiked”, he said
He has since called on the government to lift the freeze alleging that government did not consult in the process.
And Zambia Federation of Employers immediate past president Alfred Masupha said unions should be realistic during collective negotiating as demanding for conditions far above the employers’ reach has the potential to sour industrial relations in the country.
Mr Masupha said the federation was eager to partner with government and other key stakeholders to formulate coordinated and coherent policies in order to generate inclusive skills development policies.
He also called on the workers to be productive and contribute meaningfully to national development.
Various workers from different government departments and the private sector organizations were awarded for their hard work and commitment to duty.