HIKE OUR SALARIES …or face unrest in 2017, civil servants warn government.
By Thulani Phiri
THE Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union has warned the government to prepare itself for unrest among civil servants next year should it fail to increase their salaries.
But the government says it will not hesitate to dismiss any civil servant who will be found wanting through attempts of industrial unrest in 2017.
The PF government has announced austerity measures in its 2017 budget as it battles to bring the country’s economy back on track.
Among the measures being implemented include cuts in subsidies and reduced expenditure in a number of sectors, as well as a wage freeze on civil servants.
However, the civil servants have contended that the rising cost living requires an adjustment in their salaries as they had sacrificed the past two years of another wage freeze.
According to the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, a family of five in Lusaka now needs not less K5,000 per month to survive.
Speaking in Ndola, Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union (CSAWUZ) Copperbelt Province chairman Terry Muyenga warned that the PF government was sitting on a time bomb by ignoring calls for salary increments for civil servants.
He said the members of the CSAWUZ were ready to fight for their dues.
“We are very demotivated to work. This government is sitting on a time bomb. Come January 30, if this government does not increase our salaries, we will rise against them, there will be unrest. The cost of living is unbearable to our members,” Muyenga warned.” We will fight for what is due to us. Government should be concerned about us. Government should be more concerned about the issues that are demotivating our members. Let them first do an audit of what is demotivating our members before they fire us.”
He said the government should not expect anything good from the civil servants if they were not looked after well.
“It is unfortunate that when civil servants ask for improved services, government comes with empty hands.We ask for something and they come empty handed! If government will be concerned and attend to our welfare positively, we will give them a good deal of work. Let what the government wants correlate with our demands,” Muyenga said.
He also said the government was allowing splinter unions to weaken the labour movement.
“Government allowing splinter unions is a ploy to disadvantage us and weaken the unions. Government should not allow splinter unions because it is not working for them and the workers. How can government offer us zero per cent increment, looking at the high cost of living? This action is politically motivated to weaken our bargaining power. There is no way a juvenile union comes and signs a zero per cent increment,” Muyenga said in reference to the Zambia Union of Government Workers who signed an agreement with the government that there would be no salary increment for civil servants next year.
“Government is not concerned about our allowances. The issue of no money is not received well by us. Others are going away with money, where is it coming from? So that song of no money for public workers is nothing. There should be no language of no money, we want equality.”
But acting Copperbelt permanent secretary Elias Kamanga, in a speech read for him by Ndola Teaching Hospital senior medical officer Alex Makupe, said public workers should control themselves.
“Take initiative to control yourselves to avoid being casualties of government wrath. Government does not want to dismiss people as this is costly but when you misbehave, it will be yourselves to blame and you would have dismissed yourself. Ensure that rightful procedure is followed in handling your problems and secure amicable solutions,” said Kamanga through Makupe.