The Kabwe Municipal Council has suspended 74 employees for protesting against the non-payment of their 6 months’ salary arrears.

And acting Town Clerk, Joel Shawa, has with immediate effect charged and suspended the Senior Health Inspector, Director of Planning, Director of Engineering, Director Housing and Social Services and Chief Human Resource Officer for inefficiency with regards to failure to carry out work and complete set standards without reasonable cause in respect to the keep Zambia clean green and healthy campaign.

In a statement signed by Kabwe Municipal Council Assistant Public Relations Manager, Waluka Mwaekwa on behalf of the Town Clerk, the suspended workers have been charged with riotous behaviour, acting violently and omission which intentionally endangers the health or safety of others.

“The workers in division 4 have been given two days and those in division 2 and 3 have been given 7 days respectively from the days of receipt of these letters to exculpate themselves and show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against them,” the letter read.

Acting Town Clerk, Shawa, said the municipality had taken this action because of the gravity of the offences committed.

“The suspension has been instituted due to the gravity of the offences committed. Therefore, the affected Directors and workers will remain suspended until the disciplinary process is completed,” read the statement.

And Zambia United Local Authorities Workers Union (ZULAWU) Secretary General, Emmanuel Mwinsa condemned the action taken by the Kabwe Municipal Council to suspend the workers on what the Local Authority classified as an illegal strike.

Mwinsa argued that the workers simply undertook a peaceful withdrawal of labour.

“What was obtaining in Local Authorities was not a strike. For workers to proceed on a strike there are provisions that have to be followed. The workers simply undertook a peaceful demonstration to demand for their salaries. What was happening at Kabwe Municipal council was just a withdraw of labour to indicate that they were not being paid. You cannot have a person who has not been paid for 6 months to continue working. These are the issues that should be respected by stakeholders to some extent, including the council management,” Mwinsa said.

The ZULAWU Deputy Secretary General assured the affected workers of the union’s support and urged them to remain calm as the union would engage management on their plight.

“We urge the affected employees to remain calm and comply with the guidance that shall be given to them on how we shall proceed with these matters. As a union, we give hope to our members that we shall stand for them as per our mandate on such industrial challenges. We shall engage management on this issue and we remain hopeful that these matters are resolved amicably,” he said.

The drama at Kabwe Municipal Council began last week when workers staged a peaceful protest to press government to release the equalisation fund and for management to pay them their 6 months’ salary arrears.

During the protest which coincided with President Lungu’s 3-day tour of Kabwe, known Patriotic Front (PF) cadres invaded the civic centre ground and openly beat up the workers and threw stones at them injuring a number of the workers.

And on the suspension of the Directors for inefficiency regarding the management of the monthly Keep Zambia Clean, Green and Healthy Campaign; President Lungu over the weekend expressed displeasure when he found a blocked sewer along the alley next to Shoprite, town, and threatened to take action against officers who take “business as usual” and only work when the Head of state is in town.