‘We won’t interfere with labour unions’ – Shamenda

Fackson Shamenda

MINISTER of Labour and Social Security Fackson Shamenda says Government will not interfere with operations of labour unions in the country.
Mr Shamenda said Government does not believe in the harassment of union leaders because it wants them to operate freely but responsibly.
He was speaking in Livingstone yesterday when he officially opened the 11th Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers Union (ZUFIAW) quadrennial conference at Fairmount Hotel.
The conference is being held under the theme “Celebrating our success and learning from our failures while emerging as a dynamic and robust union with an attitude or service above self for a better tomorrow.”
Mr Shamenda said Government wants to promote dialogue with unions because they are its partners in development.
He commended ZUFIAW and its leadership for exhibiting maturity despite the challenges it has been facing over the years.
“I am up to date with the difficulties you have gone through as a union, like the dismissal of 500 bankers by the previous Government.
“But the policy of this Government is not to interfere in the running of unions. My ministry, as a supervisor of unions, shall be confined to that role,” Mr Shamenda said.
He said Government in partnership with employers and other cooperating partners is working hard to ensure that labour law reforms are completed on time.
Earlier, ZUFIAW acting president Chingati Msiska called on Government to expedite the review of labour laws so that the union can address the challenges facing workers such as casualisation.
Mr Msiska thanked Government for initiating consultative labour forums where labour matters are discussed.
“And we also thank Government for not interfering in union activities but we shall welcome advice and guidance on our weaknesses,” he said.
Mr Msiska urged Government to consider introducing an optional retirement age unlike placing a mandatory age of 65.
He urged the delegates to sharpen their skills in the collective bargaining process and advocate for job creation, especially for the youth.