JUDICIARY and Allied Workers Union of Zambia president Peter Mwale says labour minister Joyce Nonde Simukoko is the most useless and lazy minister of labour among all ministers in the country’s history. And Mwale has called for Nonde-Simukoko’s resignation on moral grounds. In a statement, Mwale stated that incompetence and gross mismanagement of labour and industrial relations had been witnessed during the time Nonde-Simukoko had been at the helm of the Ministry of Labour.
“We have known and seen just by the number of gross violations of both the employment Act as well as the labour and industrial relations Act right in her face. Trade unions have been either de-registered or [their] recognition agreements revoked by another public officer who is being used by Joyce Nonde in the name of the labour commissioner,” he stated.
Mwale stated that about five trade unions have either been deregistered or recognition agreement revoked.
“National Housing Authority workers have not been paid their salaries, Kabwe council workers have not been paid their salaries, Zampost workers have not been paid their salaries and now they are currently on strike; Nyimba district council workers have not been paid their salaries and have since threatened to go on strike,” Mwale stated.
He stated that workers in most cases had been dismissed, especially union leaders.
“In other instances, union leaders have been suspended like the case with National Housing Authority. How can a normal Minister of Labour say that the union leadership should write to her office in order for her to act?” Mwale asked. “Surely this is nonsense by any means necessary, the Minister of Labour is exposing her low level of thinking. Is she not aware of the non-payments of salaries for National Housing Authority workers? What about Kabwe council workers, Zampost workers, Nyimba district council workers? Minister, are you sure you are not aware of this? Come on, these issues are in the media and I mean public domain.”
Mwale wondered how else it could be explained.
“You mean you do not know that we are in the information age and that communication is in many ways and forms? Not long ago, you went to the Chinese employers to do the so-called inspections, yes, you even carried with you cameras, have you forgotten madam Minister of Labour? Do you remember minister?” Mwale asked.
“So who wrote to you? Is it the Chinese employers or the workers of the Chinese you visited?”
Mwale stated that it was surprising that the minister demanded that National Housing Authority workers should write to her through their union executive.
“What about the management of National Housing Authority, Kabwe council, Zampost and now Nyimba who have abrogated both the employment Act as well as the labour and industrial relations Act, what have you done to those responsible for not paying salaries to the workers in their respective institutions?” Mwale asked. “You have been told by the branch chairman of the National Housing Authority workers Mr Shakantu that you were given the letter and you are also aware and you have known through the media, how can you now say you have to be written to? Really!”
Mwale called for Nonde-Simukoko’s resignation.
“To say the least Minister of Labour, if you look at the events and considering the number of protests by workers as a result of salaries not being paid for months, you just resign on moral grounds,” Mwale said. “You will give us workers in Zambia a very good Christmas present by resigning as Minister of Labour. You will not loose anything minister, you seem to have failed, period.”
Mwale further stated that Nonde-Simukoko was a disappointment to the union movement in the country.
“You are a disappointment to the union movement in Zambia. You cannot have so many cases of workers protesting against non-payments of salaries. You were once in the trade union and what has changed? Are you doing it deliberately or what?” asked Mwale.