Sata Promises More Jobs For Zambians
PRESIDENT Sata says his administration will target youths in job creation because they make up 68 percent of the Zambian population and constitute a larger number of unemployed people in the country, in line with the PF government’s manifesto.
The President says value-addition to raw materials produced in the country will be the route to job creation.
“My government will promote investment in manufacturing industries which will create employment, particularly for the youth who account for 68 per cent of our population,” President Sata said.
The President was speaking during Labour Day celebrations at the Freedom Statue in Lusaka yesterday, attended by hundreds of workers from both the public and private sector.
On value addition to raw materials, Mr Sata observed that Zambia is predominantly a producer and exporter of raw materials, with few manufacturing industries hence the need to prop up swiftly the manufacturing sector.
He said the absence of industries that convert raw materials to finished goods has robbed the country of the opportunity for job creation including increased foreign earnings.
Mr Sata said there is urgent need to develop and implement appropriate strategies and programmes that will facilitate employment creation adding that “the focus of the Patriotic Front government is to ensure that economic growth translates into increased job opportunities”.
The theme for this year’s Labour Day celebrations is ‘enhancing workers’ rights for sustainable national development’.
President Sata also called on the workers to desist from illegal work stoppages at all costs. He said it is regrettable that the country has experienced wildcat strikes that have been counter-productive and irked investors.
He said it is important for stakeholders to clearly understand that work stoppages retard economic growth and impact negatively on overall national development.
He said the PF government expects trade unions and employers to use the established channels to address current and emerging labour concerns.
“This is crucial to creating and sustaining peaceful and harmonious industrial relations, which are key to fostering investor confidence and national development,” the President said.
Mr Sata told the workers that high levels of productivity can only be attained through a positive work culture and attitude.
“Government is determined to change the work culture characterised by poor attitude towards work, which includes absenteeism, reporting late for work and negative attitude towards clients,” he said.
He called on employers to create a work environment in which workers feel valued, recognised and respected as this will enhance productivity.
He said his administration is aware that conditions of service for some public service workers need to be improved.
He said the PF government is committed to improving conditions of service in a sustainable manner, as evidenced by the recent package contained in the collective agreement with public service unions in April, 2012.
Government recently awarded civil servants salary increments of between four and 15 percent.
“I am aware that poor salaries and conditions of service prevail in the private sector and in some cases they are in contravention of the law,” he said.
He said there is need for a strong legal and policy framework on labour for government to address the many challenges the country faces regarding labour and industrial relations management.
Mr Sata said government will review and amend labour-related legislation to ensure that the rights of workers are safeguarded.
The President congratulated workers, who demonstrated outstanding performance in their discharge of duties and were honoured with awards in recognition of their contribution to respective organisations.
Various organisations and individual workers were awarded during the celebrations.
Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Labour Fackson Shamenda said 250 private, public and non-governmental organisations and institutions took part in the celebrations.
Mr Shamenda said this year’s Labour Day celebrations were unique as they are the first to be held under the PF government.
He said last year’s salary and improved conditions of service negotiations between the Government and public workers unions lasted over six months, at which public workers got a raw deal.
He said under the PF government, negotiations for salaries and conditions of service for public workers lasted 10 days and public service workers got more than what they had bargained for.
He said the PF government has also revised the taxable threshold from K1 million to K2 million to improve the public take-home pay.