Kitwe, Zambia : The Zambian government says there is urgent need to put in place a mechanism aimed at educating foreign investors on the importance of respecting the country’s labour laws and regulations.
Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Ben Kapita said Tuesday Zambia had witnessed an increase in investment from both local and foreign investors in the recent past.
The investors were employing many Zambians and hence the need to sensitize them on the rules and regulations governing the country’s labour market, he added here during celebrations to mark Labour Day under the theme ‘Promoting and Sustaining Workers Rights and Decent Work through Social Dialogue’.
The minister added that government acknowledged that efforts to improve workersâ€™ rights should be complemented by measures such as educational law enforcement mechanisms and fighting injustices at places of work with the co-operation of the media.
He said it was the governmentâ€™s policy to harness partnership between workers and employers in order to promote productivity and employment creation. The government will not relent in its efforts to develop policies and programmes as well as introduce legislation that are responsive to the needs of both workers and employers.
Kapita disclosed that the government had raised the basic minimum wage from 95,000 Kwacha (one USD = about 4,200 Kwacha) to 268,000 Kwacha per month and improved other terms and conditions of service.
He noted that the conditions of service were meant to protect vulnerable workers who have no mechanisms and capacity to negotiate meaningful wages for themselves.
Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) vice-president Charles Mukuka called on the government to come up with an effective mechanism for enforcing labour laws as the labour movement had seen workersâ€™ rights being violated with impunity by both the government and the private sector.
He said there was a need for the government and other employers to respect labour laws as enshrined in the Zambian constitution.