In a statement issued to media, ZCTU Secretary General Cosmas Mukuka said that the increase in fuel prices will have a spillover effect on the cost of essential goods and services with prices in transport, electricity, food another essential expected to increase soon.
Mr Mukuka said that workers have to pay more to commute to work and back and will soon have to pay more for food and other consumer goods, adding that they will have less to spend, causing the demand for consumer goods to drop further, which will in turn lead top job losses.
Mr Mukuka stated that the workers and the poor are already over-burdened by the introduction of additional taxes, which have impacted negatively on real incomes
Mr. Mukuka added that productivity will be affected by the increase because the business world will blame the high cost of fuel for reducing production.
Mr Mukuka said that the ZCTU fears that some companies may resort to retrenchment of workers as a way of cutting down on production costs, thereby worsening the already high levels of unemployment in the country.
Mr Mukuka further said that ZCTU is worried by the high increase in fuel because producers of goods and services will pass on the increase to the consumers.
Mr Mukuka has since urged all ZCTU affiliates to start pushing demands in salary increments with employers, in order to cushion members from economic hardships.
However, Government has said that it has no control over the rising International fuel prices. Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya said that government has been monitoring the international trends and anticipated that the country will be affected by the rising United States dollar.
Ms Siliya said that this was why Government, a few weeks ago increased the Minimum wage and also increase the number of social cash transfer beneficiaries as a way of cushioning people from such shocks.
Ms Siliya was speaking during a joint media briefing with Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Amos Chanda in Lusaka.