LABOUR and Social Security Minister Joyce Nonde-Simukoko says workers who are operating from quarantined locations will be allowed to leave so that they can participate in the voter registration exercise.

Responding to a question from Kafue UPND member of parliament Mirriam Chonya on whether workers quarantined at Kafue Gorge Lower would be able to register as voters, Simukoko said her ministry would sternly deal with employers who would not allow their workers to take part in the exercise.

“The Minister of Labour and Social Security is working with stakeholders countrywide to ensure that no worker is prevented from registering as a voter including those at Kafue Gorge Lower power station. With respect to Kafue Gorge lower station, we have since dispatched officers to ensure that this directive is implemented. You may wish to know that the ministry has taken keen interest in inspection if such places where the workers were confined as a mitigation measure to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Thorough such efforts, we have seen companies such as China Aids, Sinoma, Huang Quang ad China Juanqi releasing the workers while Shogan Wali will release the workers today, Friday. Allow me to make an earnest appeal to members of parliament, the unions, workers and the general public at large to report to the ministry any such employer who will be seen to be preventing workers from registering as voters and the ministry will take appropriate action against them,” Simukoko said.

She said due to speculation of unfairness, the ministry was conducting joint inspections with other stakeholders in order to increase confidence in their operations.

“Yes, in the past we may not have had finances, however, we have budgeted for this particular incident and our partners such as Napsa and Workers Compensation are on board with us to, I think we have stopped now just having the Ministry of Labour inspecting, we go now into tripartite where all interest groups come with us to go and inspect and that also is giving a lot of confidence to our people. I think you have heard several times us being accused, our inspectors being accused of being compromised so we have encouraged that we go into a tripartite arrangement so that all those interest groups are present as we do inspections,” she said.

And Simukoko said the ministry had so far not received any complaints from workers who were quarantined in their places of work.

“Mr Speaker, the employers who are quarantining their members of staff have been writing to the Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Labour has guided, we have guidelines that we guide them and also we have to be mindful that most of the workers belong to trade unions and trade unions’ role is to ensure that workers are comfortable, they are not complaining and that all other conditions that are being put in place during this period are in line with the agreements that they make within the parties. So the Ministry of Labour so far has not received complaints from the workers because all the workers, and as I said earlier, rules have been put in place and workers have been also encouraged to report any discomfort to either the trade unions if they belong to trade unions or directly to the Ministry of Labour. So far Mr Speaker, we haven’t received any complaints that we can be alarmed about. So until that is done and we are up to date and we ensure that we up to date with how the workers are performing,” said Simukoko.