-Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Security Rayford Mbulo says the Patriotic Front (PF) government is committed to ensuring that it creates a decent work environment for all workers in Zambia.
Mr Mbulo says because of this commitment government is currently working on labour law reforms to ensure that workers in the country get equal pay for their work.
Speaking when he opened the 3rdAnnual SADC Shop Stewards conference in Lusaka today, Mr Mbulo said the conference demonstrates the regions commitment towards a well-functioning labour market.
He observed that like many other governments and unions, the Patriotic Front government wishes to see an effective trade union that represents the needs of the workers in the country.
He added that it is for this reason that government has plans to establish a permanent secretariat for trade unions.
Mr Mbulo told delegates that it is sad that unions in the region have become powerless due to their limited scope to confront and meet the challenges of capital and state.
He explained that because of this current state of fairs, unions need to find ways of co-operating with employers and their respective governments.
He said unions and governments have a distinct but mutual reciprocal role in the labour-capita equation, adding that unions principally are concerned with economics and working conditions of their members.
The minister further challenged unions in the SADC region to consider coming up with strong and effective bargaining means and ensure that their members receive fair wages, work and live in decent conditions free from threats of unwarranted dismissals.
Mr Mbulo said collective bargaining is among other tasks that are at the core of trade union responsibilities to their members.
He observed that there is no doubt that for unions to be effective negotiators there is need for them to have strong collective bargaining skills.
Mr Mbulo has since encouraged all delegates to ensure that they equip themselves with knowledge that will help them contribute effectively to fostering industrial harmony in their respective countries through sharing their different labour environment situations.
The 3rd Annual SADC Shop Stewards conference, which has opened today, comes at the backdrop of last year’s conference in Namibia, where Zambia was endorsed to host this year’s event.
This year’s conference is aimed at providing a forum to industry experts to discuss issues of interest relating to labour market and its impact of the wider economy.