Friday, June 08, 2012
By Mwala Kalaluka in Geneva, Switzerland
Fri 08 June 2012, 13:24 CAT
INFORMATION, broadcasting and labour minister Fackson Shamenda says government will reverse the mess that the MMD inflicted on the country's labour and social security sectors by starting on a new slate.
And Shamenda, a former Zambia Congress of Trade Union president, says the International Labour Organisation's invitation to President Michael Sata to deliver a keynote address at its international conference in Geneva is an appreciation of the PF's promising labour-related pronouncements.
Shamenda said in an interview at the United Nations offices in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday after addressing government officials and labour leaders ahead of President Sata's arrival in the country from London yesterday, that the MMD made a mess of the labour sector.
"There was no proper policy. If it was there, we have not seen it. On social security, our social security system is in a mess. We have to re-look at that and as you are aware, the Ministry of Labour is re-looking at all the labour laws," he said.
"We are looking at doing the labour law reforms. So we are looking at the youth employment policy from the labour perspective. We are looking at the social security which sits in the Ministry."
Shamenda, however, said the chaotic manner in which the MMD left the labour sector was not posing any challenge to the PF because it was starting from scratch to chart the direction on labour-related issues without referring to the MMD that never had a proper agenda.
"…We are starting on a clean slate so that we are not confused by other people who didn't have a policy," said Shamenda when asked what challenges the government was facing in terms of employment creation.
And Shamenda said the last Zambian president to address the International Labour Conference was Frederick Chiluba.
"It was because he was a long-standing member of the ILO. So when he became president everybody was excited, they invited him. So this President's invitation is very unique in the sense that it is an appreciation of the pronouncements of the new government which is in line with those looking at the social approach to issues," he said.
"We have 185 members and for a President, even if they were inviting five presidents every year for the conference you can divide that into how many years it would take before another country is invited. So for us it is a great honour for our President and the recognition of the transformation that has taken place in our country."
On the death of about 11 people during a job-search stampede in Mpulungu recently, Shamenda said such unfortunate situations can be avoided.
"Those are the things when you are talking about health and safety issues, you are not supposed to compromise. It was negligence on the part of those who were supposed to have been seeing that there should have been an orderly way of doing things," he said.
Shamenda also said the Zambian delegation to the 101st International Labour Conference which started in Geneva on May 30 and ends on June 14 would provide the necessary experience needed to address labour issues back home.
The Zambian delegation to the conference comprises information, broadcasting and labour permanent secretary Amos Malupenga, Zambia's Ambassador to the UN Permanent Mission in Geneva Encyla Siwale, ZCTU general secretary Roy Mwaba, Zambia Federation of Employers president Alfred Masupha, Federation of Free Trade Unions president Joyce Nonde-Simukoko and Southern Africa Teachers Organisation president Henry Kapenda, among others.
"We have a good number of people who are here who are the experts, in the tripartite arrangement. So when we get back home we shall learn from the discussions and the experiences from the people here, from various countries," said Shamenda.