13 October 2017

Zambia: Plans to Revise Minimum Wage Timely

Photo: Vanguard
(File photo).

The plans to revise the minimum Wage and Conditions of Employment Act of 2012 for various sectors is not only timely but will help improve the conditions of the working class in the country.

It is for this reason that we appreciate the intentions by the Government to embrace the process of reviewing the minimum wages and conditions of employment to be finalised by December 31, this year, as long as the attendant results are beneficial to the working class in the country.

With the pointers raised in Parliament by Labour and Social Security Minister Joyce Simukoko that the Government was upbeat to review the conditions of service of workers and its overall benefits to the interest of the workers anchored on a rather broad based consultations with social partners and key stakeholders must be concluded.

It is gratifying that the ministry will develop sector specific minimum wages and conditions of employment for the various sectors, progressively with available time-frame.

The meaningful, positive results of the Government's national vision to protect the plight of the workers should be supported with the plans to review SI No. 46 and 47 of 2012 relating to minimum wages and conditions of employment.

We support such positive plans to be implemented in the right course of workers at the lower scale of the employment vector.

Since the minimum wages were last reviewed in 2012 shortly after late President Micheal Sata assumed power offers food for thought for our legislators to revise laws that would add value to Statutory Instruments (Sis) No 45 of 2012 of the minimum wages and conditions of employment (domestic workers) amendment order of 2012.

SI No. 46 of 2012 on minimum wages and conditions of employment (general workers) amendment order-2012, and SI No. 47 on minimum wages and conditions of employment (shop workers) amendment order-2012.

Preparations to hold further consultative meetings with the social partners and other key stakeholders such as ministry of Finance, Commerce, Cabinet office and the Public Service Management Division on the revision of the minimum wages for various sectors are simply the right vector to follow in the wake of some domestic workers, for instance, failing to fend for their families despite reporting for work year-in-out!

We also support the motion by the Labour and Social Security Minister to ensure that Government's vision was to power-up the process of implementing new measures to entail development of sector specific minimum wage and conditions of employment that would take care of sector specific challenges and opportunities.

The need to embrace the spirit of engaging other stakeholders in the labour market was as cardinal as realizing Government's vision to improve the welfare of the working class.

Lest we forget that the minimum wage mostly offered for security guards, domestic workers, among others, was what drives the domestic economy yet we ignore about the welfare of such workforce.

It was Government's ideal to ensure that all those who add value to the economy should be awarded according to their input because any sector of the economy cannot thrive without the value of ordinary workers of communities.

There is need to ensure that the Government reviews legislation governing the role of the third class of workers in society because they are part of the chief contributors of national economic growth, at least by extension.


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