Unionised workers at Times of Zambia have called off their work stoppage over their three month salary arrears.
ZANIS reports that this followed a three-hour long meeting Chaired by Information and broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary (PS) Amos Malupenga at his Office in Lusaka today.
The PS said government is working round the clock to ensure that the workers are paid their salaries.
Present at the meeting are Zambia Union of Journalists (ZUJ) General Secretary Angela Chishimba, ZUJ Lusaka Chapel President James Muyanwa and his Treasurer Jayne Mwanda and ZUJ Southern Region Chairperson Shamaoma Musonda.
The Times Management team was led by Managing Director Godfrey Malama, Director of Finance Derrick Bwalya and Acting Director of Commercial Services and Adminstration Getrude Kabezia.
He observed that the problem of salaries at the State owned media is symptomatic of the deep rooted operational challenges at the firm arising from years of under-capitalisation, a bloated workforce and high indebtedness.
Mr. Malupenga however re-affirmed government’s commitment to re-capitalise the company and other state owned media so that they operate viably and profitably.
This is contained in a press statement issued by the Ministry of Information and broadcasting Services Press and Public Unit available to ZANIS in Lusaka today.
He implored the workers to be patient as government explores various options to end the chronic financial challenges faced by the public media.
And ZUJ General Secretary Angela Chishimba thanked government for exhibiting commitment to resolve the salary problem at the ToZ.
Ms. Chishimba said her Union would closely work with government in finding a long-term solution affecting the state media house.
The ZUJ GS however, passed a benefit of doubt to both the government and Times Management attributing this as due to several assurances.
“We have given government and Times Management a benefit of doubt because assurances have been made before but without implementation whilst the workers are in dire need of their monies. I’m sure you will bear with me that they workers there are suffering,” she said.
Yesterday, Unionised workers at the Times of Zambia staged a sit-in protest at their premises to pressure government to help the state owned public media settle the three months non- payment of salaries.
The workers have not been paid their monthly salaries for three months from April to June 2013 and they felt that the situation has continued to drag on for some time now hence withdrawing their labour was the best answer to addressing to their problem.
The members unanimously resolved to take a go-slow with the view to seek government intervention in their plight .
They lamented that some of the workers have since been evicted from their houses due to non-payment of house rentals and also non-payment of utility bills such as water, electricity and even school fees for their school going children.