Mulongoti says Post workers have rights, warns Mosho against treating them like criminals
By Mwape Mbwelela
MIKE Mulongoti says Post employees have rights which should be infringed upon and has warned provisional liquidator Lewis Mosho to stop treating the workers like criminals.
Reacting to Mosho’s threats that all Post employees holding on to cars should hand them over or be treated as criminals, Mulongoti, the People’s Party president, said the employees still retained their claim of right to Post Newspapers property.
“All people who worked for Post Newspapers Limited are legitimate [as] they entered into contract with their employer. If any circumstances change, that does not mean that their rights are diminished,” Mulongoti said. “So, those who are dealing with the liquidation process must take that into account. It’s not enough to just concentrate on doing the liquidation, ignoring that the company did not exist without people. Those are the workers who have lost out in the process [and] so to inconvenience them further just because of money is not right. Let the liquidation process have a human face as well. Workers should not be ill-treated, they should be treated with respect as they are the ones that made the company what it is.”
He told Mosho that Post Newspapers employees had an interest in the liquidation process owing to the various sums of money owed to them.
“The workers have an interest in the process. Let’s face the truth – they have a claim to their Post property. Even when lawyers go to court and they think the likelihood of the matter to succeed is there, they attach a claim to a property as surety,” Mulongoti said.
“There has to be property they have which they can account for and is in their possession lawfully. It was given to them lawfully by virtue of their employment, they are not criminals. Treating them like criminals is not fair.”
He said it was standard practice that an employer took care of the needs of an employee who had been retired or caught up in a liquidation process until they were paid.
“When Mr [Levy] Mwanawasa left government as vice-president, he refused to surrender motor vehicles until he was paid. That’s public knowledge. He refused to surrender motor vehicles until he was paid; that was the vice-president of the Republic,” said Mulongoti.
“If you are retired and you are not paid, you don’t leave the company house, property and you remain on salary. Even now, there are some former PSs who are still holding on to government vehicles because they have not been paid and some police officers who were retired but not paid have not vacated service houses. What does that mean? It’s a human face that you are attaching to the whole process.”
On January 23, Post Newspapers staff representative Oliver Chisenga said if holding on to Post Newspapers property while the employees wait for their benefits from Mosho was theft, then police should arrest them.
Chisenga, who expressed disappointment at Mosho’s threats of arrest, said employees of Post Newspapers Limited (in liquidation) were holding on to some of the newspaper assets until they were paid their dues in full.