THE CIVIL Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CSAWUZ) says it’s surprised that government has suspended the debt swap, two months after its introduction, without following the due process of the law.
Reacting to a Zambia Daily Mail report that government had suspended the debt swap scheme in a statement, Tuesday, CSAWUZ General Secretary Makai Makai said it was shocking that a programme emanating from a collective bargaining process could be suspended by government.
“The Civil Servants and Allied Union of Zambia (CSAWUZ) is very surprised to learn that the government of the Republic of Zambia has suspended the debt swap scheme for civil servants, two months after the programme was introduced to cushion workers’ loan burden. You all may be aware that it is reported in the Zambia Daily Mail of Tuesday 14th September that the government has suspended the debt swap scheme for all civil servants. You may all be aware that the President of the Republic of Zambia His Excellency Mr Hakainde Hichilema informed the nation that his government will be a government of laws. It is for this reason that we are surprised that a programme emanating from a collective bargaining process that is provided for under the Industrial and Labor Relations Act Cap 269 of the laws of Zambia can arbitrary be suspended by the government,” he said.
Makai appealed to government to work within the provisions of the law when it comes to amending, terminating or replacing a collective agreement.
“We want to remind the government that the law provides that where a party is desirous of amending, terminating or replacing a collective agreement, that party shall give 90 days notice in writing, to the other party of the proposed amendment, termination or replacement, stating the reasons thereof. It further provides that either party may, at any time during the operation of the collective agreement, by notice, in writing, request the other party to open negotiations aimed at reviewing the collective agreement, or any part thereof. It is important to understand that the debt swap scheme is contained in the addendum to the 2021 collective agreement and it is binding to both the government and the public service unions that signed it. We therefore appeal to the government, which is the government of laws to work within the provisions of the law when it comes to amending, terminating or replacing a collective agreement,” said Makai.
The PF government introduced the debt swap scheme for civil servants in July this year.