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Archives for May 2020

PRESS STATEMENT BY THE ZAMBIA FEDERATION OF EMPLOYERS’ EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR MR. HARRINGTON CHIBANDA ON VISITS INTO COMPANIES BY LOCAL AUTHORITY LEADERS

THE ZAMBIA FEDERATION OF EMPLOYERS (ZFE) NOTES WITH GREAT CONCERN THE RECENT VISITS INTO COMPANIES BY LOCAL AUTHORITY LEADERS SUCH AS HIS WORSHIP THE MAYOR OF LUSAKA MR. MILES SAMPA AND HIS COUNTERPART MR. NATHAN CHANDA OF LUANSHYA AND THE CASTIGATIONS SO FAR MADE ON EMPLOYERS ESPECIALLY THE CHINESE EMPLOYERS. WE AGREE WITH THE MINISTER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT DR. CHARLES BANDA THAT THE LOCAL AUTHORITY LEADERS MUST STICK TO THEIR LANE AS THEY CARRY OUT THEIR DUTIES.

WHILE WE NOTE THE FACT THAT HIS WORSHIP THE MAYOR OF LUSAKA MR MILES SAMPA HAS OFFERED AN APOLOGY OF WHICH WE COMMEND HIM, WE WISH TO STATE CATEGORICALLY THAT THE TWO LOCAL AUTHORITY LEADERS ACTED ILLEGALLY IN REGARDS TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ZAMBIAN LABOUR LAWS BY VISITING THE COMPANIES THAT THEY HAVE BEEN TO BECAUSE ACCORDING TO SECTION 9 (3) OF THE EMPLOYMENT CODE ACT NO. 3 OF 2019, LABOUR INSPECTION IS A PRESERVE OR A FUNCTION OF THE LABOUR COMMISSIONER.  IT IS ONLY THE OFFICE OF THE LABOUR COMMISSIONER THAT HAVE THE LEGAL POWERS TO VISIT WORKPLACES AND CONDUCT LABOUR INSPECTIONS WHICH HE CAN ALSO DO THROUGH DELEGATION OF SUCH POWERS TO ANY OTHER PERSON AS A PROPER OFFICER UNDER SPECIFIC DIRECTIONS BY THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL SECURITY.

THERE IS NO ILLEGALITY FOR EMPLOYERS TO QUARANTINE WORKERS AT THEIR WORKPLACES LIKE WAS THE CASE AT SINOMA AS A PREVENTATIVE MEASURE AGAINST THE COVID -19 IF THE EMPLOYEES HAVE CONSENTED AND THEY ARE RECEIVING AN EXTRA PAY FOR STAYING AWAY FROM THEIR HOMES FOR AS LONG AS THEY ARE ABLE TO MAINTAIN THE HEALTH PRACTICES RECOMMENDED BY THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH. THEREFORE, SENTIMENTS THAT EMPLOYEES SHOULD NOT BE MADE TO STAY AWAY FROM THEIR FAMILIES FOR A CERTAIN PERIOD OF TIME BECAUSE OF THE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITIES THEY HAVE AT HOME ARE UNFOUNDED BECAUSE EVEN IN THE ABSENCE OF COVID 19 A NUMBER OF WORKERS UNDERTAKE CERTAIN TASKS WHICH REQUIRE THEM TO BE OUT OF STATION AND OUT OF HOME FOR SOME DAYS AND THEY ARE PAID EITHER DAILY SUBSTANCE ALLOWANCES OR RESPONSIBILITY ALLOWANCES DEPENDING ON THEIR CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT.

INNOVATIONS IN BOTH PREVENTATIVE AND PRODUCTIVITY MEASURES MUST BE ENCOURAGED UNDER THE NEW NORMAL BROUGHT BY THE COVID-19 FOR AS LONG AS THE HEALTH STANDARDS ARE OBSERVED IF THE COUNTRY WAS TO MINIMISE THE NEGATIVE IMPACT OF THE COVID-19. AS ZFE WE WILL SUPPORT SOCIAL DIALOGUE AROUND THIS ISSUE WITH THE GOVERNMENT AND THE UNIONS TO AGREE ON MINIMUM STANDARDS THAT MUST BE ADHERED TO WHERE IT BECOMES NECESSARILY TO QUARANTINE SOME WORKERS FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME BUT ALSO ALLOWING THEM TO VISIT THEIR HOMES FOR A CERTAIN NUMBER OF DAYS.  VOLUNTARY TESTING BY THE PRIVATE BUSINESSES SHOULD BE PERMITTED BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH DECISION MAKERS WITH A CONDITION TO ALLOW REFERRAL OF CASES OF STAFF WHO TEST POSITIVE ON–SITE TO GOVERNMENT FACILITIES.

WHILE WE COMMEND HIS WORSHIP THE MAYOR OF LUSAKA FOR HAVING OFFERED AN APOLOGY FOR THE DEROGATORY REMARKS HE MADE AGAINST THE CHINESE EMPLOYERS AT SINOMA, WE URGE THE TWO CIVIC LEADERS AND ANY OTHER PERSON WHO MAY BE INTENDING TO DO THE SAME TO DESIST FROM SUCH. WE WISH TO ADVISE EMPLOYERS OUT THERE THAT THEY WILL BE AT LIBERTY AND WITHIN THE PROVISION OF THE EMPLOYMENT CODE ACT TO BLOCK OR SIMPLY CHASE AWAY ANY LOCAL AUTHORITY LEADER, POLITICIAN OR ANY OTHER PERSON WHO DECIDES TO VISIT THEIR PREMISES ON ACCOUNT OF HAVING RECEIVED SOME WHISTLE BLOWING OR ANY FORM OF LABOUR INSPECTION WITHOUT APPROVAL FROM THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL SECURITY.

HIS WORSHIP THE MAYOR OF LUANSHYA MR. NATHAN CHANDA WHO VISITED MULYASHI OPEN PIT MINES IN THE NIGHT AND IF IT IS TRUE AS REPORTED THAT MANAGEMENT WAS NOT GIVEN PRIOR NOTICE SHOULD BE REMINDED THAT SECTION 10 OF THE EMPLOYMENT CODE ACT NO. 3 OF 2019 WHICH HE WELL NOTED THAT IT HAS NOT BEEN SUSPENDED ONLY GIVES SUCH POWERS TO FREELY ENTER A WORK PREMISES WHETHER BY DAY OR NIGHT TO THE LABOUR COMMISSIONER OR TO A DELEGATED OFFICIAL.

SO HIS VISIT IN THE NIGHT AND WITHOUT NOTICE TO MANAGEMENT WAS TOTALLY ILLEGAL UNLESS HE CAN PROVE THAT HE WAS AUTHORISED TO DO SO BY THE MINISTER OF LABOUR AND SOCIAL SECURITY BY WAY OF HAVING BEEN APPOINTED HIM AS A PROPER OFFICER.

THANK YOU.

9B691F

HARRINGTON CHIBANDA

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Special Advisory Note – Employment Code Act No. 3 of 2019

7th May 2020
Dear Member,
RE: IT WAS NOT EASY BUT TOGETHER WE DID IT
Members will recall that since the enactment of the Employment Code Act No. 3 of 2019, the ZFE Secretariat has been conducting sensitization workshops and has been interpreting the code to members continuously.
The feedback from the members has always been that the ECA is not an enabler for sustainable enterprise and therefore, does not create an environment for decent employment creation in the Country. Read more..

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