Zambia Congress of Trade Unions Secretary General Cosmas Mukuka says the union cannot defend the interest of private media organisations because they are not under the ZCTU membership.

Mukuka was responding to a question from a journalist at a media briefing yesterday who wanted ZCTU’s reaction to NUMSA’s statement that it was disappointing for a union to be silent when workers were being harassed.

“We have always been talking about the unionization of the media, we are limited the way we intervene. We talked about The Post jobs when people stopped working, we said lets look at the families of the suffering post workers, our statement ended there but with the intervention, we are limited on the unionization again,” Mukuka said.

“I can give you a very good example of the Zambia Daily Mail, the Times of Zambia, and ZNBC where they are unionized. Our arm is very strong on that. Times of Zambia they almost lost jobs but we quickly intervened and then through that, there were finally transfers. Of course management may have its own way to exercise their powers but we served the jobs.”

And reacting to labour minister Joyce Nonde Simukoko’s recent to Parliament that the labour movement in Zambia was weak, Mukuka said the minister wanted to make the country ungovernable by pitting workers against their leaders.

“The minister wants to make this country ungovernable by pitting workers against their leaders’ company managements, a situation that could lead to industrial strife. This will make it difficult for government to manage the affairs of this country in an effective manner,” Mukuka said.

“Mrs Simukoko must realize that being Minister of Labour does not translate into being a monitor of trade union activities in the country. The role of a labour minister goes beyond this and the earlier she knows this, the better for her. Before being appointed as Minister a few months ago, Mrs Simukoko used to belong to the trade union movement where she served as a senior leader of the same labour movement she is demeaning and insulting today.”

Mukuka advised Nonde not to use her position to settle old scores with the current leadership of the labour movement.

“Mrs Simukoko should not use her position as labour minister to settle old scores with the current leadership of the labour movement. We advise her to focus on issues of raising the national productivity levels, Zambianization of jobs held by foreign workers, poor wages, strengthening the tripartite labour system, bringing down the high unemployment levels and many other labour matters requiring her attention,” said Mukuka.

“If the Minister feels the labour movement is weak, let her bring out issues through established channels. In addition let her identify the areas where we have failed to represent our members. For now, we can only suspect that her statement is meant to create confusion and divisions among trade unions in the country.”