By ANDREW PHIRI –
THE Zambia Congress of Trade Unions ( ZCTU) says it is happy with first Zambian President, Kenneth Kaunda’s call on unions to come under one umbrella body.
ZCTU deputy secretary general Cosmas Mukuka said the recent pronouncements by Dr Kaunda for unions to come under one umbrella body would strengthen their negotiations for better conditions of service for the workers in both the private and public sector.
Speaking in an interview in Livingstone at the weekend, Mr Mukuka said ZCTU was happy that from its 36 already existing affiliates, it had received two more, which included the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) and the Secondary School Teachers Union (SESTUZ).
“As for teachers, they are talking about merging and as ZCTU, we are happy because they have reached an advanced stage because we believe in unity and unity breeds strength. So we need to unite the workers first,’’ Mr Mukuka said.
He said ZCTU had previously faced challenges in the interpretation of political party manifestos and this made negotiations with Government difficult.
“So we are happy that Government officials can now appeal to workers to belong to unions.
“This is a serious realisation because workers’ movements must be a corner stone of their success,’’ Mr Mukuka said.
Mr Mukuka said the Patriotic Front had fulfilled most of its manifesto promises but that the challenge still remained to look at the collective bargaining system.
” We need Government negotiators and employers country wide to seriously undergo training in bargaining so that we do not prolong the negotiations because most of the people lack the experience in bargaining skills,” Mr Mukuka said.