Home Affairs Minister Davies Mwila has implored labour movements to be proactive in protecting workers’ interest for them to remain relevant in promoting decent work and national development.
And Mr. Mwila has threatened to revoke work permits for all expatriate employees occupying positions that can be filled by the local labour force.
He said unions play a significant role in bargaining and fighting for workers’ interest hence failure to meet their obligation would result in government being blamed for poor conditions of service for workers.
He was speaking in Luanshya during the labour day commemoration under the theme “achieving national development through productive decent work, sustainable job creation and social justice”.
Mr. Mwila noted that it was not government’s responsibility to bargain for workers’ conditions.
He said government’s role was to provide an enabling playing field for employers and the unions.
And the Home Affairs Minister has warned foreign investors against engaging expatriates to fill job positions that can be managed by the local labour force.
Mr. Mwila said government will not hesitate to revoke work permits for such expatriate employees as the law was explicit on the matter.
He however assured employers that government was committed to offloading capable graduates to meet the labour demand adding that the recent closures of the two public universities, which have since reopened, was aimed at maintaining sanity by removing political interference in high institutions of learning.
Mr. Mwila was responding to an appeal made by Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE) representative Luisa Nduna who expressed concern that university graduates would soon become rejects on the labour market if abrupt closures continue.
Ms. Nduna observed that employers were concerned that the closures of the universities compromised the standard and output of the students when they graduate.
Earlier, Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) Luanshya district chairperson David Mubiana called on government to address the issue of expatriates in some companies who were taking up the jobs meant for the local people.
Mr. Mubiana further called on government to engage the Luanshya Copper Mines on the reopening of Baluba plant as the district was dependant on copper for its economic activities.
Workers from various companies in the district were awarded for their dedication to duty with rewards ranging from household goods, money and certificates.