THE good performance of any Government is dependent of the flawless performance of its various departments. A failure in the departments brings down efficiency gives a government a bad name.
This is why we are dismayed to hear that the Labour Officers have not been performing their work leading to increased abuse of workers by various employers in the country.
Labour Minister Joyce Simukoko regretted that the country was recording an increase in the number of complaints of labour violations and attributed this to the lack of visitations by the labour officers to various workplaces.
One undeniable fact is that not all employees fully understand the labour laws and it is a well-known fact also that employers take advantage of such gaps in knowledge to abuse the law to their advantage thereby creating an unhappy and unproductive workforce.
Foreign employers need close monitoring because they want to make huge profits before capital flight. And if there are weaknesses in the system, multinationals, especially, tend to thrive under such circumstances.
So it becomes disheartening to hear that labour officers who are there to protect the workers are sleeping on duty and allowing the various violations to thrive in the various workplaces.
Ms Simukoko said, because of the increased complaints of labour violations at work places, she had decided to personally take a tour of workplaces where these complaints are rife to ascertain what really was happening.
Ms Simukoko said this after touring the construction works at the Edgar Chagwa Lungu Mall and that she was forced to conduct inspections herself to ensure investors and employers followed the law.
It is a shame that it should take a whole Minister to visit such work places. There are people who are employed to carry out suck tasks and the happenings mean they are getting free money.
We agree with her that the inspectors have failed the Zambian workers.
Such a situation is counterproductive to a nation that is putting a lot of money into construction. With construction taking up the majority of the budget and taxpayers money, it is expected that the recipients of the money are kept on their toes.
This is not just to make sure that they put in place quality works, but also observe the basic minimum labour laws and properly treat and reward the local workers.
Government not too long ago purchased vehicles for the labour officers to make them more efficient following complaints that they were immobile, but it seems the vehicles have not brought any improvements to the departments.
Ms Simukoko right says the vehicles which were purchased were meant to improve efficiency instead of carrying charcoal or building materials for personal gratification.
Labour officers need to switch on.