The strike by Sino hydro workers in Itezhi Tezhi over wages claimed to be below minimum wage has been called off.
This was a result of a meeting held at Itezhi Tezhi Power Corporation chaired by Deputy Minister of Labour and social security Rayford Mbulu and attended by
Area Member of Parliament Greyford Monde, Itezhi Tezhi district commissioner George Sichula ,Sino hydro management and central province labour officials and representatives of employees.
The strike ended after deputy minister of labour and social security Mr. Rayford Mbulu intervened over the wages which the company pays its workers which the minister said were not with government’s minimum wage requirements.
Mr. Mbulu however said the minimum wage was for the vulnerable workers who do not belong to a union like them and urged them to join the national union of construction workers adding that they have a right to form or belong to a union.
The minister further directed central province labour office to facilitate the affiliation of the workers at Sino hydro to an appropriate union without delay.
Meanwhile, government has advised Sino hydro Company, a Chinese state corporation engaged Itezhi Tezhi hydroelectric power construction project, to stop casualization and other forms of unfair labour practices at site.
Labour and Social Security Deputy Minister Rayford Mbulu says government was totally against any form of casualization of labour and unfair labour practices.
“I have noticed with concern that what you are doing at Sino hydro is casualization. Government is totally opposed to any form of casualization of labour ,” Mr. Mbulu said.
ZANIS reports that the minister made the call during a meeting of Sino hydro management and representatives of striking workers initiated by Itezhi Tezhi area member of Parliament Greyford Monde .
The meeting was aimed at addressing the three-day strike that has grounded activities at the construction site of the 120MW Itezhi Tezhi hydroelectric power plant.
Mr. Mbulu said that there was no need for Sino hydro to be terminating contracts of workers every after three months when their skills are still needed until the end of the project in November 2015.
“We do not want to hear indiscriminate termination of contracts of employment of workers without valid reasons.” Mr. Mbulu said.
Mr. Mbulu directed Sino hydro to revises the contracts it signed with workers saying that they are not valid because they are not attested by government labour office.
He said that for the employment contracts to be valid a third party (government labour office) must attest to the contracts.
Mr. Mbulu also directed Sino hydro to employ a qualified Human Resource practitioner with immediate effect.
He said that the Chinese civil engineer who is practicing human resource functions at Sino hydro was doing it illegally and should stop with immediate effect.
“It is illegal for anyone to practice human resource functions unless one has Human resource qualification and is registered with the Zambia Institute of Human resource Movement.” Mr. Mbulu said.