ZCTU demands lifting of wage freeze

Mine workers at NFC Africa Mining shaft at Chimbishi
Mine workers at NFC Africa Mining shaft at Chimbishi

The Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has demanded that government lifts the wage freeze imposed on the public service ahead of the conciliatory meeting it will hold with the unions on the collective bargaining for civil servants.

ZCTU president Leonard Hikaumba says the conciliatory meeting expected to be held in the next one week will be meaningless if government maintains the wage freeze on the public service.

Mr. Hikaumba has told a media briefing in Lusaka that government should also be mindful that by imposing a wage freeze without consulting unions, it was in breach of international conventions on labour and therefore the wage freeze is illegal.

He says government should have adhered to international conventions by allowing a free and fair collective bargain before imposing the wage freeze.

Mr Hikaumba referred to the 1998 case in which the court declared the wage freeze imposed by the then government null and void on basis that government did not allow a free and fair collective bargain.

He says government should further keep it in kind that the cost of living in the country is going up and therefore public service workers will be demoralized if the wage freeze is maintained as it will render the recently increased salaries for civil servants meaningless.