MINISTER of Labour and Social Security Brenda Tambatamba says the new dawn government will ensure employers out in place just conditions because workers are also the backbone of the economy.
In an interview, Tambatamba said government would also promote the issue of productivity in the workforce.
“Our party manifesto of the new dawn government is very much attentive to the issues of the workers. Because we are aware that the workers and employers too are the backbone of the economy, without them, where would we deduce the growth that we aspire to achieve? It is in our national interest that where there is no justice, we shall attend to it to ensure that the rule of law presides and ensure that just conditions are put in place by every employer. While at the same time, we also want to make sure that we pay attention to the productivity issue which my ministry is driving, that we shall promote the issue of productivity in the workforce, in the industries. The new dawn government cares about the employees, we think they are a priority. We are seeking to ensure there is a win-win situation,” she said.
“You cannot keep workers like slaves, we cannot afford that and where we are finding that, we are very emphatic to make sure that they do the right thing. We do care, we will do everything possible to make sure that we have a labour force which includes the employee and the employer that is working in tandem towards meeting the objective of both the employee and the employer. They are working in safe conditions, we are not losing employees like the mining industry, we pay attention to the safety of the employees, in factories as well. We are here as a new dawn government to do the very best for our employees in the industry.”
Tambatamba said issues to do with the minimum wage were on the priority list of issues to be reviewed, adding that it would be tabled at the forthcoming Tripartite Council.
“Those are issues that we will definitely attend to. We weigh, we gauge, they are very much on the priority list to review, to look at and see what needs to be reviewed. Because some of those minimum wages, different industries, have different minimum wages so it is based on which industry needs that amendment. Others may not need it because they already have the minimum wage. So that too will be discussed in the Tripartite Forum. It is an agenda point,” she said.
Tambatamba said she was also conducting tours to check and gather information on the welfare of employees.
“As I visited my constituency, we have picked up a lot of issues around rights of employees. And amongst other business we were conducting in the constituency, we were able to visit those sites with the Labour Commissioner. That demonstrates to you that we are very much alert to the issues we have heard, we are hearing and we want to gather enough information as we visit. We are also set to visit Copperbelt, Solwezi, we will at one point in the next couple of weeks visit those sites to gather information on site. So what we pick on the ground as we do the inspections now, is what we will take to the Tripartite Council where we will have the labour unions represented by National Unions and we also have the Zambia Federations of Employers and us as government,” said Tambatamba.
“There are other pieces of information that we are picking which might hinge on future legislations and the direction of a legislative amendment. We are very much aware and we are already working to go and listen and make sure that we keep the real issues. What needs immediate attention and what needs to go into possible or potential legislative amendments.”