THEY can threaten us but come August, we will ensure we show the PF government what it feels like to be in pain, museums workers vow.
Responding to an internal memorandum written by the National Museums Board (NMB) acting director general Bevine Sangulube dated April 16, museum workers in Livingstone, Choma, Mansa, Ndola and Lusaka, who spoke on condition of anonymity via a zoom meeting, said musicians and PF cadres were living comfortable lives than public workers under President Edgar Lungu.
The workers who are affiliated to the University of Zambia and Allied Workers Union (UNZAAWU) have since been forced to cancel their intended sit-in-protest which was scheduled to commence Monday.
“We had intended to go on a sit-in-protest until the PF government paid us our salary arrears accrued as far back as 2016. We have seen what the director general wrote and our translation of her words is that they are threatening us with disciplinary action and after seeing a lot of public workers being fired by President Lungu in national interest, we fear for our families,” the workers complained.
“But the question is; for how long will we have to wait? Parliament is dissolving next month and they, as PF, will start campaigning for our votes. So they can threaten us now, come August we will ensure that we show them what it feels like to be in pain,” another worker said.
Workers also wondered when the matter regarding their salary arrears would ever be resolved, which had dragged for years.
“We, however, want to advise them to resolve it as soon as possible failure to which we will ensure that all of us in the NMB turn to the ballot paper for a solution. How on earth can a musician who sings PF songs and a cadre who does nothing be eating three meals per day while us public workers, taxpayers live in squalor?” another worker asked.
Dr Sangulube in her internal memorandum said the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and Arts advised against workers proceeding on a sit-in-protest, “as it is illegal and will attract disciplinary actions. We advise that unionised workers wait for the matter to be resolved.”
She told UNZAAWU general secretary Moonga Mupuma that resorting to industrial action when the ministry was making efforts to resolve the matter was not the best.
“NMB and the Ministry of Tourism and Arts understand and sympathise with the challenges that your members face caused by non -payment of accrued salary arrears from 2016 to 2019 respectively,” said Dr Sangulube in the memorandum to the union.