22 May, 2014Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda told the Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) that he will not sign any collective agreement negotiated by unions if it does not improve workers salary above the poverty line.
The labour minister was addressing delegates at the MUZ Quadrennial Conference that took place from 14 to 16 May 2014. He told the conference that industry was complaining about the new minimum wage which is above the poverty line but he said the government believes this is important for the country. He also assured MUZ of government support in making sure industry is working according the laws of the country.
IndustriALL Regional Secretary Fabian Nkomo said, "The areas of focus of MUZ are in line with key strategic areas of IndustriALL and with the pledged support of government to improve workers livelihoods, the growth of MUZ is eminent".
About 200 delegates from 43 branches of MUZ attended the conference held under the theme “Workers’ Rights First”. The opening session of the conference focused on organising and building unity of workers in the mining industry. A message of condolence was also sent from the conference to the families and relatives of the mine workers who lost their lives in a mine explosion in the Turkish town of Soma.
“We would like to call upon the Turkish Government to ratify and domesticate ILO Convention No. 176 which will promote a healthy and safe working environment in the mining industry in Turkey,” said MUZ President Chishimba Nkole.