Saturday, October 08, 2011

ZAWA workers protest

ZAWA workers protest
By Moses Kuwema
Fri 07 Oct. 2011, 06:10 CAT

ZAMBIA Wildlife Authority employees yesterday protested and demanded the abolishment of the institution. But labour minister Fackson Shamenda has appealed to all employees in the country to remain calm while his ministry was carrying out the presidential directive of reviewing the current minimum wages.

A spokesperson for the workers, Teddy Lubinda, called on President Michael Sata to abolish ZAWA and let the government take full control of the institution.

"The President should abolish ZAWA and take the institution into government as stated
in the PF manifesto. Since 2000 to date, ZAWA management has done nothing apart from pleasing themselves with better conditions of service at top management," Lubinda said.

He accused the ZAWA management of failing to remit NAPSA contributions since 2000 despite making deductions on workers' salaries.

"This also includes ZAWA pension schemes. ZAWA does not provide any retirement package to the general staff while top management give themselves huge salaries and gratuity upon completion of a three year contract, while the general staff get K1,500,000 after retirement," Lubinda said.

He also accused ZAWA management of deducting money from their salaries, but that the money is never remitted.

He said institutions such as Bayport, Indo Zambia Bank, Natsave, Microfin, among others, had stopped lending money to ZAWA members of staff.

"When one goes on leave, ZAWA only provides or has a policy of paying K500,000 for 30 days. Is this normal? Where did they get this criteria? Management gets K2 million for a period of less than 10 days when they go on leave," said Lubinda.

And Shamenda said the ministry had already started working on the critical issue of the minimum wage.

He said in addition, the ministry was looking into the improvement of
conditions of service for all employees in occupations where the wages
and conditions of employment were regulated through the process of
collective agreement under the industrial relations act or where
employee and employer relationships were governed by specific
employment contracts which were attested by labour officers.

"Under the circumstances, I wish to appeal to all employees in the
country to remain calm while my ministry is carrying out the
presidential directive. We should not allow work stoppages to disrupt
productivity in our nation. My ministry remains open for consultations
from both employers and employees alike," said Shamenda.
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