CIVIL Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia president Davy Chiyobe says it is a reality that some politicians are interfering with the civil service.
But Eastern Province permanent secretary Buleti Nsemukila says the general public’s perception is that the public service has failed to deliver effectively and efficiently.
During the second Eastern Province CSAWUZ conference in Chipata on Monday, Chiyobe called for the protection of civil servants.
“The issue of transfers has seriously haunted the public service in the sense that sometimes these workers, they don’t see peace and they don’t rest. Sometimes these transfers unsettle our members. They have those fears where they don’t have security,” Chiyobe said.
“These people you see have got terms and conditions of service which, if anything has to happen, those conditions of service have to be involved. What we have seen, guest of honour, where politicians are interfering with the public service workers, that’s reality. A minister today would come and enter Southern Province and enter Eastern Province and say ‘you, you did not speak very well, you should be transferred to Sinda. You did not answer me properly you should be transferred to Chasefu’. I think guest of honour, let us be protected by our conditions of service.”
Chiyobe called for non-interference in the civil service by politicians.
He however, acknowledged that Eastern Province had been spared from such interference.
Chiyobe said the union had come up with plans to see how best the issue could be addressed.
“One of them is to see how these workers can be empowered with certain commodities because in terms of liquid cash it may not be possible. The economy is not doing very fine but we come with brilliant ideas which are highly workable,” he said. “As you see them (workers) here they have been transferred but they have not been paid, maybe settling-in allowance. They have gone on leave; they have not been paid. Some of them they have worked continuously and their days have accumulated and they have not been paid. They want to commute the days so that they can get a bit of cash so that they can pay their school fees [but] they cannot commute. And we call for non-interference by the politicians because these are skilled professional people of the public service and they should not render it with fear.”
And Chiyobe proposed that the government profiles all the debt for public service workers.
He said depending on how much money each one had they could be given land at places of their choice.
“As a labour movement we have gone further that if those pieces of land are given, we move and create a memorandum of understanding with these institutions that have building materials and then they begin to build. They begin to have shelter and begin to look into the future,” said Chiyobe.
“[And] we are coming for 2020 negotiations not with kid gloves, we’ll mean business. Guest of honour, this is business and 2020 negotiations we are not sending warning shots. We are simply saying these people also need to live in decent houses. 2020 negotiations, let government prepare money for the employees.”
And in a speech delivered on his behalf by his deputy Josephat Lombe, Dr Nsemukila said workers and the union leadership had a major role to play in changing the poor perception that the general public had of the civil servants.
“The general public perception is that the public service has failed to deliver effectively and efficiently. In the light of this, the challenge and responsibility to change this poor perception does not lie with the political leadership and senior managers alone,” said Dr Nsemukila.