Sunday, May 19, 2024

Workers central to economic recovery

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By Derrick Silimina

President Hakainde Hichilema has observed a need to celebrate the centrality of workers in the country if the economic recovery programme is to be a success.

Speaking when he officiated at the 2024 Labour Day commemoration at Solwezi Stadium in North-Western Province, the President said workers must always be productive in order to better the economic trajectory of the country.

“Let me indicate that the theme for this years’ Labour Day is so appropriate and I have said in the past that there is no employer without employees. No investor will exist without employees hence it is their duty to take care of workers if they are to remain productive,” President Hichilema said.

The 2024 theme as set by the International Labour Organization (ILO) is , Building Resilience:Workers At The Heart Of Zambia’s Economic Recovery.

The Head of State said work did not only mean working from 0800 hrs to 1700 hours, but it was all about deliverables to attain the laid down economic recovery plan.He urged workers to avoid a dependency syndrome on hand-outs as that will not develop
Zambia but hard work considering that the country is economically stressed due to debt.

IMPROVED
Hichilema said for that reason, the Government had improved the mining tax regime in a bid to create an environment conducive for Barrick Lumwana and Kansanshi Mine which were at the verge of shutting down operations.

“I always tell my fellow workers that when the country is economically stressed and when we default, we must always work harder and then we shall recover and grow the economy and attract more investment. Investors should always work harder by re-investing their profits because the economic environment is now conducive.”

Speaking at the same event, Labor Minister Brenda Tambatamba disclosed that the Ministry had since developed a draft bill to enhance workers’ industrial and labour relations with their employers.

Tambatamba noted that the Ministry would in the course of this month embark on a comprehensive stakeholder consultative process to enhance labour relations by taking into consideration what is prevailing on the market.

“I am pleased to report that the Ministry has developed a draft bill, the Employment Act No. 3 of 2019 and we urge members of the public to make submissions as we start this process which we will publicize for easier participation,” she said.

REBUILD

And International Labour Organization Country Director Wellington Chibebe underscored that this year’s theme, Building Resilience: Workers At The Heart Of Zambia’s Economic Recovery resonated with the ILO’s resolve to support and rebuild real economies by using a human-centred approach.ILO further believed that the economic recovery process ought to incorporate a universal social protection floor, including universal access to basic healthcare.

“As we join the country in the commemoration of the 2024 International Labour Day, may I congratulate your Government, the workers, employers and the people of Zambia at large, on the successful hosting of this occasion and many other activities taking place across the country, more importantly in this town of Solwezi, a historic moment, indeed,” he said.

The colourful event drew multitudes of workers both from the public and private sector displaying an array of skills during the march-past to the delight of invited senior Government officials, dignitaries, traditional leaders and trade unionists among others.

AWARD

FQM’s Kansanshi Mining Plc and FQM Trident won award each during the event after they displayed state-of-the-art mining equipment with well-adorned mining workers during a match- past at Solwezi stadium.KML Technical Superintendent Patricia Mankubwa scooped the Presidential Award while FQM Trident won the Best Dressed Marchers Award.

“Trust me, it’s an honour to receive any award and being recognized for all my effort and my team is actually a pleasurable moment for me. I really appreciate Kansanshi Mining Plc together with management for this amazing award,” Mankubwa said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, KML Human Resource Manager Mark Silimi implored mine workers and everyone involved in production to focus their energies on attaining high production of copper if the mining giant is to remain sustainable now and into the future.

“As you may be aware, the S3 plant including the trucks that will be used in the pit are all state-of-the-art and we are lucky that this is not the first plant that FQM is putting up here in Zambia,a similar plant is what we have also at Trident and so, we’re building on what Trident has done in terms of skills training,” Silimi noted.

FQM Trident Human Resource Manager Brighton Mwiinga stressed that despite economic turbulence the country was going through, workers should remain focused to effectively contribute to the mining company’s copper production target.

“Thats why we keep on rewarding our employees for demonstrating resilience over the tough times that we face knowing that we are doing it for the betterment of employees, the employers and for the betterment of the country.”

Story courtesy of Suma Systems

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