Friday, February 22, 2008

Proliferation of unions has weakened labour movement, says Hikaumba

Proliferation of unions has weakened labour movement, says Hikaumba
By Ntalasha Mutale
Friday February 22, 2008 [03:00]

IT has become impossible for unions to merge because there is so much rivalry amongst them, Zambia Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) president Leonard Hikaumba has said. And Hikaumba has said young men have not learnt anything from Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata because his language does not depict the wisdom of an old man. In an interview on Monday, Hikaumba said there was much enmity amongst the unions because they were all competing to be the best.

“There is a lot of attacking each other, there is competition about the way each union recruits its members,” Hikaumba said.

He said ZCTU had tried to have meetings with the other small unions but had failed to make progress because of inter-personal vendettas.

He admitted that the proliferation of the unions had weakened the labour movement and its voice in fighting for the workers’ rights.

“We should come together. We should find a way of working together so that we compliment one another’s efforts rather than compete amongst ourselves,” he said.

“Small unions whose effectiveness has not been according to expectations should merge so that they are strengthened.”

And Hikaumba said Sata’s language did not impart wisdom into young men.
He said young men had not learnt anything from Sata because he was busy criticising and condemning them, instead of teaching them good morals.

He was commenting on Sata’s statement that young men had no capacity to lead the country.

Hikaumba said the young men had not been given the chance to take up leadership roles that should be shaped by his old-age experience.

“If Sata is boasting about having good leadership qualities, why not extend them to young men to benefit? As young men, we don’t want to hit back when old men talk. We want to listen to them and get their wisdom acquired over the years,” Hikaumba said.

“The old men of his time were not criticising young men but were imparting good leadership qualities into them; otherwise he would not have reached the levels he reached.”

He said old men should not take advantage of the mistakes the young men were making by remaining in leadership themselves but should instead control them.

“We make an earnest appeal to old men to teach us, advise us, and guide us. And this can only be given if we are the ones holding the leadership,” said Hikaumba.

On Monday, Sata said young men had failed to run the country and had no capacity to lead.

Sata also said young men had failed to stand against him because they were scared.

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