Trade Unions have challenged the Government to create more decent jobs and put up stronger labour laws as workers celebrated International Labour Day also known as May Day.
In the Copperbelt Province the main Labour Day event was held at Diggers Rugby Club in Nkana West where Copperbelt Minister Elisha Matambo was the guest of honour, gracing the occasion alongside trader union leaders.
The labour movement leaders recommended that in the Government’s quest to accelerate job creation; it should set up state owned industries in districts that will help absorb in the labour market the unemployed citizens, especially the young people.
Speaking on behalf of the Zambia Congress of Congress of Trade Union and FFTUZ, ZCTU First Deputy President Joseph Chewe further asked the government to deal with rampant casualisation.
Mr Chewe called on the government to address decent wages in the private sector, address the cost of living, stabilize the price of fuel and alleviate poverty.
The Mine Workers Union of Zambia President further asked the Government to quickly find a credible investor for the Mopani Copper Mines and Konkola Copper Mines (KCM).
“These jobs are being given to contractors and these contractors Honourable Minister are giving workers three months contracts, six months contracts, one year contracts and these jobs are of permanent nature. We demand that those jobs in the mining sector are given to people on a permanent basis. Casualisation must come to an end. Let’s give decent jobs to the people. The Honourable Minister is important to bring to your attention that the country is experiencing high unemployment and this is one of the key and most pressing issues that needs government attention,” Mr. Chewe said.
Guest of honour and Copperbelt Province Minister Elisha Matambo said a positive work culture and goal oriented mindset is needed among the employers and employees to improve productivity in the country.
Mr Matambo also warned companies in the province to immediately stop casualisation and give people permanent jobs.
On Job creation, the Copperbelt Minister said the government is working tirelessly to create jobs for the people both in the public and private sector and that this year more people will be employed in the private sector.
Meanwhile, Mr Matambo said very soon a pronouncement will be made on the matter of KCM and Mopani as talks have concluded adding that issues at Chambishi and shaft 28 in Luanshya will be dealt with soon as well.
“As Minister of Copperbelt I don’t support casualisation. I have come to learn that there are some organisations who are going to give contracts to employees as short as one month. They will go on when one month is finished to give another one month. I think that must come to an end. We must make sure that we respect the dignity of employees and give them permanent jobs so that they are able to plan,” Mr. Matambo said.
Speaking on behalf of the Zambia Federation of Employers, Harrington Chibanda appealed to the government to actively participate in the mineral value chain and deal with the issue of Taxes raised by various stakeholders in the country.
Meanwhile, Labour Day organizing committee chairperson Fewdays Bwalya said only 40 companies have participated at this year’s Labour Day celebration compared to 53 that participated last year.
Today is the 1st of May, International Workers Day, the day of labour and solidarity.
Dating back to the 1880s and born as a result of the worldwide struggle of workers for daily working hours, 1st of May is all the more important as workers come to well realise the importance of solidarity.
May 1 is marked as May Day, also referred to as International Workers’ Day and Labour Day in different countries across the world.
The Day commemorates the contributions of workers and the labour movement.
The International Labour Organisation theme for 2023 Labour Day is:”Stop the pandemic: Safety and health at work can save lives.”