17 November 2012

Zambia: ZFE Welcomes Minimum Wages Court Ruling

THE Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE) has welcomed the Lusaka High Court ruling that labour Minister Fackson Shamenda was within the law when he announced new minimum wages for domestic, shop and general workers.

ZFE president Alfred Masupha said in a statement released yesterday that the federation is relieved that the court has cleared the air over the issue.

"The Federation has received the judgment of the Court with immense relief because the Court has ably and correctly cleared the air over an issue that had chronically boggled the minds of employers in the Country," he said.

He said that while the Court upheld the Minister's action to pass Statutory Instruments Number 46 and 47 of 2012, the federation was also relieved by the Courts' further ruling that the Minister should attend to an application that the ZFE made to him a long time ago, for a review of Section 3 (2) of the Minimum Wage and Conditions of Service Act .

"The joy of the Federation is driven to even higher heights by the Court's emphatic directive to the Minister of labour to attend to the Appeal of the Federation forthwith, " he said.

He commended employers in the country for having remained calm while the judiciary prevailed over the matter.

Mr Masupha said ZFE together with its membership would continue to embrace the statutory Instruments including all labour laws that are outlined by the ministry of labour.

On Tuesday, the Lusaka High Court ruled that the Labour Minister was within the law when he announced new minimum wages for domestic, shop and general workers.

Mr Justice Mubanga Kondolo said in his ruling that the minister did not need to consult ZFE before coming up with Statutory Instruments numbers 46 and 47 of the Industrial and Labour Relations Act.

ZFE had sought judicial review over Government's decision to increase monthly salaries of domestic, general and shop workers without consulting the employers' body.

The statutory instruments were signed in July, this year which implied that domestic workers' wages increased from K250 000 to K522, 400 with transport allowance inclusive.

Shop workers' revised minimum wage is pegged at K1, 132, 400 with transport, lunch and housing allowances inclusive while the minimum wage of the highest grade in this category was pegged at K2, 372, 519.

In the general workers' category, the minimum wage was pegged at K1, 132, 400 while that of category five was pegged at K2, 101, 039. Under the revised order, the lowest worker would be getting K1, 132,400.

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