The Security Officers and Allied Workers Union in Zambia is frustrated with the lack of regulation in the security sector. Union General Secretary Steven Chanda has disclosed that the union has written several letters to both the Ministries of Labour and Home Affairs but has received no response so far, and has indicated intentions to escalate this to the Head of State.
According to Chanda, the lack of regulation in this sector has exposed employees to exploitation by smaller security firms that are failing to pay and adhere to minimum wages by paying salaries less than k1, 000 per month despite the recently announced revised minimum wages for domestic and general workers, shopkeepers and security guards. He has complained that the unregulated sub-division has seen numerous individuals forming security companies devoid of respect for workers’ rights, with compromised unprofessional conduct.
Efforts to get the Ministry of Labour on the matter proved futile by broadcast time as the Minister in charge, Brenda Tambatambas mobile phone went unanswered.
In addition to the security sector, the United Public and Allied Workers Union of Zambia has bemoaned the continued challenges workers in some private companies continue to experience due to lack of union representation. Union President Foster Matakala tells Phoenix News that because of under representation or no representation at all, workers are being subjected to inhuman conditions such as low salaries and abuse.
Matakala has since challenged the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions -ZCTU- and the Federation of Free Trade Unions in Zambia –FFTUZ- to grow the labour movement agenda within the private sector and informal workers. He says while it is not the work of union mother bodies to form unions on behalf of workers, they can seek audience with the private sector players to raise awareness on the need to grow the trade union movement in the sector.
Zambia has lately witnessed a number of disputes involving employers and employees, with experts attributing this to lack of union representation.