Labour Minister Joyce Nonde Simukoko says the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions must be patient as government continues with negotiations for civil servants’ salaries negotiations through the Public Service Management Division (PSMD).

ZCTU has mounted pressure on the government in the past week, accusing the Labour ministry of throwing away the negotiation process which was initiated months ago.

But Simukoko says government had no option but to put off the negotiations in order to assesses the country’s financial status.

She added that negotiations for the 2017 improved salaries and conditions of service are expected to be amicably concluded this week, stressing that labour movements must give the bargaining team space to operate.

“The government negotiating team led by the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) has given my Ministry information on the on-going negotiations for 2017 improved salaries and conditions of service, whose position is as follows; negotiations are on-going and that all government unions, part to the bargaining unit are aware of the dates when the said Bargaining unit shall resume; and the adjournment to the negotiations was as a result of seeking accurate information on the economic performance of the country which information is important on the negotiations,” Simukoko said.

“The other position of the PSMD is that parties to the negotiations even applied for extensions of their current collective agreements and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security approved their requests. The Ministry therefore expects our partners to the process and especially mother bodies such as the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to guide and mediate in the negotiating process of their affiliates and give the Bargaining Team space to conclude negotiations amicably”

Simukoko advised all key players in the negotiations to follow the agreed process of Industrial and Labour Relations Act, in case of any disagreements.

“Should there be disagreements, we have a process we follow agreed by all parties as enshrined in the Industrial and Labour Relations Act. The Ministry looks forward to an amicable conclusion of the negotiations which are set for the first week of July 2017,” said Simukoko.