The Ministry of Labour and the University of Zambia (UNZA) management has given UNZALARU a 48-hour ultimatum to show cause why the union should not be deregistered for breaching the recognition agreement.

On Monday, The University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) protested against their delayed December salaries. During the said protest, UNZALARU general secretary Dr Kelvin Mambwe said if an election was to be held today, only those enjoying with PF or idiots would vote for them.

But Labour Commissioner Mukamasole Kasanda has written a notice of cancellation of certificate of registration to UNZALARU.

“The ministry wishes to express its profound disappointment in the manner in which you aired your grievances during your address to the press concerning the unpaid December salaries. In as much as it is your fundamental right to discuss problems affecting your members, it should also be known to you that Industrial and Labour Relations Act, cap 269 has provided grievance and dispute resolution mechanisms. The protection of the freedom of assembly and association granted under Article 21 of the Zambian Constitution, being the cornerstone for the existence of Trade Unions, states in sub-article (2) (d) that the law may provide conditions for registration. Thus in your quest to advance or promote your members rights, it does not warrant the violation of that freedom. Section 3 of the Industrial and LABOUR Relations Act Cap 269 as amended by Act No. 30 of 1997defines “trade union” as (a) means any group or organization of employees registered as a trade union under this Act whose principal objectives are the representation and promotion of interests of the employees and regulation of relations between employees and employers,” Kasanda stated.

She asked the union to also show cause in writing on why it should not be deregistered.

“Your statement calling any Zambian an idiot for voting for a particular political party whether in the past, current or future elections was not addressed to your members alone but to all citizens. The statement was also not in line with section 3 of the Industrial and Labour Relations Act Cap 269 and was also outside the objectives for which your union was formed in accordance with Article 3 of your Constitution. The statement was insulting and politically inclined. Further, your sentiments on the incompetence of national leaders at all levels us uncalled for and does not denote the principals of industrial relations and workers representation,” stated Kasanda.

“Therefore, you are advised to show cause in writing as to why your certificate of registration should not be cancelled for violating the industrial and labour relations Act Cap 269 pursuant to Section 12 (2) of the said Act.”

And in another letter dated January 7 and addressed to Dr Mambwe, UNZA registrar Sitali Wamundila gave the union a 48-hour ultimatum to show cause why it should not be deregistered for breaching the recognition agreement with management.

“Management wishes to express its displeasure and disappointment at your press briefing held yesterday 6thy January 2020 at which press briefing, you did not only incite industrial disharmony by making threats as to the return of students on campus but also breached Article 18 of the Recognition Agreement between UNZA Management and yourselves as published in both electronic and print media yesterday and today respectively. May I hasten to state that your threats as to the return of students and your unbridled insults on Management go to the root of our relationship with yourselves and thus your pronouncements, actions and innuendos have broken the said relationship irretrievably,” Wamundila stated.

“Needless to say that you have also breached Section 6 of the industrial and Labour Relations Act Cap 269 of the Laws of Zambia which section of the law sets parameters on what you can or cannot say and/or do as a Trade Union. In the premises, management is giving you 48 hours from date hereat to show cause why it must not invoke provision of the Amendment Act 8 of 2008 with a view to ask the Labour Commission to terminate the Recognition Agreement between Management and your Trade Union.”

Wamundila further stated that if management did not receive any response from the union within the stipulated time, it would go ahead and de-register the union.

“If we do not receive a satisfactory response within 48 hours from date hereof, we belabour management’s strict resolution to go ahead and enforce the provision of Section 65A of the industrial and Labour Relations Act as read mutatis mutandis with Amendment Act No.8 of 2008 referred to hereinbefore,” stated Wamudila.

By press time, UNZALARU was yet to come up with a position on the matter.