LABOUR minister Joyce Nonde-Simukoko has advised Zambians notto take pleasure in reading insults on social media at the expense of issues that add value to their lives.
And Simukoko says she has information that truck drivers want to go on strike and has since warned against such an action saying there are consequences of holding illegal strikes.
Addressing a press briefing at Avani Hotel in Livingstone after attending a 22nd Annual Convention for the Zambia Institute of Human Resource Management (ZIHRM), Simukoko urged Zambian workers to read the Employment Code Act No 3 of 2019 so that they know their rights.
“Let’s not find pleasure in reading insults on social media as opposed to reading issues that add value to our lives. When you read about people who are insulting so and so, what value does it add to your life? And the Lord is very clear…that people will perish because of lack of knowledge. It’s the choices you make, if you choose not to read the law that empowers you as opposed to entertainment on social media, who are you going to blame? We need to ensure that we read these laws…they are not bulky…and once you have read, you will find that nobody will take advantage of you,” Simukoko said.
She added that employers would lie to workers because they want to maximise on profits.
“But if you have read, no one has ever been fired for telling the truth, no one has ever been fired for insisting to the employer to give them what is rightfully theirs. I have never come across such a kind of grievance that I was fired for reminding the employer to give me the right wage, never! But the employer will take advantage if we don’t read…so the reading culture in our country is very disappointing and we need to change and start reading and start understanding procedures,” Simukoko said.
She revealed that some people were going round telling workers that the Employment Code Act No 3 of 2019 which was enacted on May 9 was not in operation.
Simukoko said the Act was now law and appealed to workers and the general public to find time to read the Act.
She added that the Act was written in simple English which every Zambian worker could read.
“The labour laws are small pieces of legislation and when you read them, you understand your rights and you cannot be a victim of people who are going round telling people lies…all those who are going round misleading people that this law is not yet there or that it has not yet come into effect can be dispelled,” she said.
“Again, I am appealing to the worker, ignorance has no defence; if you choose to be ignorant of what is happening around us, people who read take advantage of you…the pieces of legislation are written in simple English and I don’t think any worker in this country can fail to read and understand,” Simukoko said.
She said that there was a law that required an employer to write to her ministry if there was an intent to declare workers redundant.
“Our ministry will carry out an investigation to see if this employer has no capacity to keep workers…we have sometimes intervened and sometimes we have discovered that they give themselves heft salaries; we intervene and urge them to lower their salaries,” said Simukoko.