By Edward Chisanga
Labor laws in Zambia may not commit employers to provide good lunch for workers. But workers deserve good lunch that fills their stomachs. There are many reasons why workers must be fed at lunch break, and most of us know them even if we pretend not to.
Micah Pratt reminds us of the importance of increased employee morale that good lunch can generate. She argues that companies that provided meals had higher overall employee satisfaction ratings that results into higher productivity. She adds, “When employees from different departments sit down in the same place to eat every day, this helps form stronger, more positive connections with each other.” This is one place where workers who don’t often see each other will do so and engage in discussions that are helpful to the company.
When workers eat together in the same place, common sense tells us that it is less disruptive to work. On the other hand, when they are forced to eat away from their workplaces, they are likely to wonder about looking for food from one place to the other, sometimes far away from their workplace. Cheap food may be found not nearby but sometimes far from the workplace. Perhaps more importantly, most workers in Zambia earn simply too little to manage buying food enough for a good meal. The result of an empty stomach in workers is diminishing health for workers and productivity.
Few employers in Zambia feed their workers. Even those that do fail to provide them with enough food to fill their stomachs. More especially, few provide them with special relish such as chicken, sausage or beef. They will often feed them on vegetables and beans. To them, special relish is Kapenta which they might give them once a while.
However, there’s one employer I came across who, according to what I have experienced in my own country, stands out. Leben Blocks Company is a company that makes building materials, including bricks, blocks, pavers and curbstones. Leben Blocks Company owned by a Turkish national is located along Kafue Road at Lilayi Roundabout, with a branching Road going to Lilayi Police Training Center, another to Chilanga Police and one going towards Sandys Creations or Lusaka.
Look at the huge plates of huge Nshima and Chicken shown in the picture above that are fed to one single worker of Leben Blocks Company. I found this at lunchtime when I went there to buy some building materials. I was stunned but very happy to see this amount of food being provided to workers every working day. I asked them if they eat Nshima with Chicken daily. Their response was affirmative. I asked them if the mountain of Nshima that I saw is what they eat daily. Again, their response was affirmative.
What you see in the picture is not campaign material. It’s reality. If you doubt, I challenge you to visit Leben Blocks Company daily to see for yourself. When I asked the owner of Leben Blocks Company, his answer was, “If I’m making a modest contribution to Zambia’s development, it is through giving them good meals like this to make them work better and harder. They are human beings too who deserve to eat better.”
Finally, keep it up Leben Blocks Company. I hope other employers can learn lessons from this company and feed their workers well too.