OVER a thousand casual workers at Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia in Kafue have appealed to area member of parliament Miriam Chonya to help them get their two-month salary arrears. Speaking anonymously on Sunday evening, the workers lamented that their families were wallowing in hunger because they had not received their salaries for the past two months, making it very difficult for them to survive.
The visibly annoyed workers complained that their salaries were very low and that the company’s failure to pay them was “torture”.
“Our friends who are on permanent basis have gotten their two months salaries but for us, it’s bad because we have no union to speak for us. We the casual workers constitute the largest workforce. We are over 1,000 and actually we are the ones that labour so much and do the donkey work but when it comes to salaries, we are given peanuts,” one worker said.
“We get as low as K900 and those with trades [certificates] get K1,200 and are the most paid casual workers. Now imagine getting K900 and supporting a family of four. It’s really torture working for NCZ. The highest paid manager gets K75,000 and the lowest gets K4,500 per month and we buy mealie-meal at the same price. Sivintu mwandi.”
The casual workers complained that they did not know the exact pay day because management kept changing dates. And Chonya urged NCZ management to pay the casual workers because they deserved what they had worked for.
She commended NCZ management for paying the two-months salary arrears owed to its permanent workforce.
“First of all, I should say it’s good that management has since paid off all the salaries for permanent workers. I want to urge them to also pay casual workers because they also put in their labour. There should not be this distinction where one section of workers is paid and the other is not because this amounts to unfairness,” said Chonya.