State launches decent work country profile

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Government has launched the Zambia decent work country profile which will reflect the realities of work in the nation.

Minister of Labour Fackson Shamenda says Government has started reviewing the national employment and labour market policy and is undertaking major pension reforms.

Mr Shamenda said during the launch of the decent work country profile in Lusaka yesterday that Government is committed to reducing youth unemployment levels through the promotion of enterprise.

“As part of our proactive approach and as a result of our continued commitment to promoting equity and social justice for all, government is seeking to completely eliminate child labour in all its forms through program such as the tackle project [tackling child labour through promotion of enterprise],” he said.

The minister also said government is reviving public employment exchange services and creating new ones in all provincial centres.

“Government is reorganizing and reorienting all youth plans and programs to suit the current needs and aspirations of our young people. This will include restructuring existing youth training schemes,” he said.

And Mr Shamenda said the decent work country profile is an invaluable resource for government, Zambians and various interest groups.

He said the profile cannot be achieved unless the rights of both employees and employers are respected.
“Protection from unfair dismissal, the right to work normal hours, a safe working environment, stability and security of work are all fundamental rights of every employee,” Mr Shamenda said.

The minister said employment is central to a person’s well-being as it paves the way for broader economic and social advancement.

Earlier, International Labour Organisation country director for Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique Martin Clemensson said the minimum wage and legislation for workers’ rights are key ingredients to ensuring that the benefits of development are widely distributed.

“However, it is still a great concern that the number of jobs being created is not matching the growth of the economy,” he said.

And Zambia Congress of Trade Unions president Leonard Hikaumba said the launch of the decent work country profile offers a new opportunity to evaluate and reflect on individual and organisational roles in moving Zambia closer to achieving the decent work agenda.

Mr Hikaumba said about eight percent of the working population in Zambia receive social security cover from the National Pension Scheme Authority.

Federation of Free Trade Unions Zambia secretary general Alison Mando appealed to government to compel both foreign and local investors to implement the revised minimum wage which came into effect last year.

And Zambia Federation of Employers executive director Harrington Chibanda said his organisastion stresses the need for a free collective bargaining system between workers and employers in a spirit of mutual respect and understanding.