The government has reiterated its commitment to the Decent work agenda through the continued review of labour issues and the provision of sector-based minimum wage in line with the Patriotic Front (PF) party manifesto.
And Minister of Labour and Social Security, Joyce Simukoko says there is a need to bring out tangible solutions to labour issues in all sectors as evidenced by past results such as the revision of the minimum wage for workers in 2012.
Ms Simukoko was speaking when she officially opened the Tripartite Consultative Labour Council meeting held at the Government Complex in Lusaka yesterday.
“My ministry always looks forward to these meetings as they are a platform for resolution of many issues that negatively impact the labour market, through this forum, we have made notable strides such as the revision of minimum wages for the vulnerable employees in 2012 and subsequent revision of the same in 2018” she said.
She has further disclosed that the labour advisory committee will consider Mining, Information and Technology and media sectors going forward and that consultations in the media sector have already commenced.
Mrs Simukoko has, however, cautioned employers against the abuse of Statutory Instrument number 48 0f 2020, through which employers have applied for relief as a result of COVID19 effects on business but rather provide guidance and open dialogue with employees on issues faced by the companies.
Speaking at the same occasion, Zambia Federation of Employers, Acting President, Sakala Ngoma called on the Government to consider suspending the Tobacco and Nicotine products bill to allow all stakeholders to carefully analyse the proposal and its effects on the labour market.
“We request you as Minister responsible for labour in the country to engage your counterpart in the Ministry of Health on this matter and ask him to hold on to this Bill and allow for wider stakeholder consultation. Let’s engage and ensure that once this bill is passed it does not create undesirable ripple effects or implications to the already fragile employment situation in the country”. She said.
And International Labour Organisation (ILO) Country Director George Okutho said he is confident that the meeting will make decisions that serve the interests of workers and employers in the country and has pledged the ILO’s continued offering technical and financial support to the resolutions of the meeting.