CHIPATA police officers yesterday dispersed a group of former council casual workers who had gathered to present their grievances over unpaid benefits to the district commissioner’s office.
The police informed the former casual workers to disperse because their gathering amounted to unlawful assembly.
The officers later advised the former workers to get a police permit if they wanted to gather in such a manner.
The former workers, who were seemingly not pleased with the police action, agreed to get a permit because they wanted to have an audience with the district commissioner and later the permanent secretary over their unpaid benefits.
Joseph Njobvu, who worked for the council for six years, said after they were laid off, they did not agree on anything until they took the issue to the labour office.
“When we went to the labour office, they guided us that the council should give us something. So we went to the council management so that we see the way forward. Management agreed that they will pay us something. So we were told that the issue would be subjected to a full council meeting and that we should come back today (Thursday). Today (yesterday) we came but they told us that full council meeting did not take off but they really want this case to go to the full council. Now we asked them whether when they were deciding to lay us off the matter went to the full council or not. They said it went through the full council but that they did not discuss the issue of our payment packages,” Njobvu said.
He said the former workers were advised to go back to the council on September 24, 2018 to get results of what would be resolved.
Njobvu said all they wanted was their money and not anything else.
“Ngati munthu akamba ati nikuteme ndiyekuti aponda pamwala, petichotsa ntchito ndiyekuti ndalama ali nazo (When someone says I will stone you it means that person has stepped on a stone. The fact that they laid us off it means they have the money to pay us),” said Njobvu.