Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Limited workers yesterday protested over delayed January salaries and have rejected government’s decision to list the company on the Lusaka Stock Exchange.
The ZAFFICO workers said the decision is untimely and will send many in the streets.
Addressing the over 400 protesting workers, National Union of Plantation and Agriculture Ndola branch chairman Nicholas Tembo said the union would not accept this decision.
“We are seating on 8,000 hectares of land and this is the only industry that employes unskilled labour. We don’t want this company to be sold. We want to have this company to be a Zambian company. Other countries they have companies that are solely owned. This government should not sell the company please. It has employed a lot of people,” Tembo said.
“ZAFFICO is a profit making company that is fully paying it’s dividends and we can’t allow this company to be sold. It is self sustained so we need it for the Zambian people. We have talked to management but they are not clear. We are not convinced with the answers from management. We have seen some white people coming in the plant to tour, and this is putting a lot of pressure on the workers who are in fear.”
And NUPA treasurer Lyson Nyambe said the workers had not yet been paid their January salaries.
“We are in pains as the union because the workers think we are in support of the sale. As a union we are not in support of the sale. This issue of government listing ZAFFICO on LUSE is of great concern because the company is doing every well. Look at Kamwambwa tea. It is because of ZAFFICO that this Kamwambwa tea is doing very well now. So there is no way to list a company that is doing very fine,” said Nyambe.
“As a union we are fighting through the right process to ensure that the right thing is done. The workers are partially working, but the mood is low. We just came to brief them about the salary increment which has delayed. Instead of them to listen to the news of salary increment, they are protesting the listing of the company. ZAFFICO has a total of over 12,000 workers. So where will this number be taken? 4,000 are permanent and the rest are causal workers,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from ZAFFICO management failed by press time.