Tuesday, April 16, 2013

MUZ urges private sector to emulate govt on salary hikes
By Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe
Tue 16 Apr. 2013, 14:00 CAT

MUZ has challenged manufacturing and mining companies in the private sector to emulate the government that has adjusted upwards salaries for civil servants above the food basket value.

In an interview yesterday, Mineworkers Union of Zambia general secretary Joseph Chewe said the decision by the government to commit itself and ensure that the lowest paid worker gets at least above K2.8 million (KR2,800), which was the basic needs and food basket value of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) speaks volumes of its commitment to addressing the needs of workers in the country.

Chewe said in the next round of negotiations for collective agreements, the union would ensure that other mining companies catch up the benchmark of government as mining was a very vibrant and productive sector as compared to the government which was a service provider.

"We appeal to mining companies and industries to emulate the government that has taken a bold step to emulate a worker. The mining companies paying below KR2,900 must pull up their socks and catch up with the government," he said.

He said employees in the private sector deserved to live above a minimum food basket as guided by the JCTR, adding that some companies were paying unjustified low wages with less amount of motivation.

"If we recall, the private sector used to pay better salaries than the government but the trend is different. We congratulate the PF government for setting up this benchmark and our challenge goes to the private sector that has become dormant in terms of attending to the needs of employees through salary increments. The government is now very particular about a worker," Chewe said.

He said many employees were running away from the private sector and joining the government which was not a good sign of development in terms of labour as the country's economy was private sector driven.
Chewe said the increase in minimum wage and the improvement in salaries for the private sector was an indication of serious political will being demonstrated compared to the past.

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