1 February 2013

Zambia: Shamenda Launches Decent Work Profile

LABOUR and Social Security Minister Fackson Shamenda has launched the decent work country profile which aims at raising work standards.

Mr Shamenda said Government remained committed to generating statistics that would help increase decent jobs in Zambia.

He said the Government believed that the decent work agenda was an appropriate policy framework that was vital in poverty eradication.

The minister said labour force survey results when evaluated together with the decent work country profile would form a basis towards reforming the policy and legal frameworks surrounding decent work.

"Government will not be ashamed to release statistics on unemployment as they stand unlike the previous regime which wanted to sweep them under the carpet. Pretence never helps," he said.

Mr Shamenda said decent work was central to the efforts of reducing poverty and a means to achieving equitable and sustainable development.

"Protection from unfair dismissal, the right to work normal hours and security of work are all fundamental rights of every worker and must be respected and adhered to by every employer.

"At the same time the workers hold within themselves the responsibility to ensure that they maximise their productivity," he said.

Zambia Congress of Trade Unions president Leonard Hikaumba said non-compliance to the minimum wage, overtime and decent work hour legislation by employers continued to be a major challenge.

Mr Hikaumba was concerned with the current practices of casualisation of labour that negatively affected workers' rights

to stable and secure employment.

"I would, therefore, like to appeal to institutions tasked with enforcing these laws to prioritise the inspection of all companies suspected of flouting the laws that have been put in place to protect the decent working conditions of employees," Mr Hikaumba said.

International Labour Organisation country director Martin Clemensson said the findings of the decent work profile would ensure that key outcomes such as better employment for the youth, women and people with disabilities were achieved.

Mr Clemensson said labour market policies such as the minimum wage and employment protection legislation were vital ingredients for ensuring that the benefits of development were distributed and workers' rights protected.

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