20 December 2012

Zambia: Take Part in Labour Law Reforms - Mbulu

Labour and Social Security Deputy Minister Rayford Mbulu has urged the labour movement to actively participate in the on-going labour law reforms to enable the country to come up with better legislation.

Mr Mbulu said the Government had from its inception undertaken a serious labour law reforms process.

He said the Government had engaged a professor from University of Cape Town in South Africa who had so far done ground work on the law reform project.

Mr Mbulu was speaking in Livingstone on Tuesday night when he officiated at the Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CSAWUZ) 5th biennial conference.

The conference, whose theme was 'Improving Public Service Delivery through Strong Workers' Representation', has attracted labour leaders from across Zambia.

"As Government, we want you labour leaders to have active participation in the labour law reforms.

"At the end of the day, we don't want you to have a law that will bind you and yet you never participated in its formulation. It is our earnest appeal that you take part in the formulation of labour laws," Mr Mbulu said.

He said the interest of CSAWUZ was critically linked to the vision of the Government which aimed at improving the public service delivery system in the country.

Mr Mbulu said the current Government was keen to see to it that quality services were delivered, especially to Zambians living in rural areas.

"We want to eliminate the public perception that the civil service is being maintained at a huge cost and claims that the public service is corrupt," he said.

CSAWUZ president Davy Chiyobe urged the Government to live up to its promise of putting more money in people's pockets.

Mr Chiyobe said most workers were faced with untold misery in their homes because their salaries were not enough to sustain their livelihood.

"We are not asking to get what constitutional holders have been given. We just want our share as civil servants because we are the engine of public service in Zambia," he said.

Mr Chiyobe urged the Government to engage labour leaders on the national Budget before presenting the document to Parliament as opposed to engaging them after Budget presentation.

Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general Roy Mwaba said opposition political parties in Zambia were almost dead and that the labour movement was the only institution which could offer proper checks and balances to the Government.

Mr Mwaba, who announced that he would not contest the 2014 ZCTU elections to give room to other leaders, agreed with the Government that civil servants should be non-partisan.

He urged the Patriotic Front and opposition parties to avoid taking their squabbles to the media because that had the potential to divert people's attention from service delivery.

ZCTU president Lenard Hikaumba, who also attended the meeting, announced that he would not contest the next ZCTU elections to give room to upcoming leaders.

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