Labour Ministry halts Times of Zambia strike

By Staff Reporter

The planned strike action by unionised Times of Zambia employees over prolonged non-payment of salaries failed to take off on Tuesday after management asked the Ministry of Labour to ‘intervene’.

Sources from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security disclosed yesterday that theTimes of Zambia management rushed to the Ministry to consult officials about the provisions in the labour laws that they could use to quell the strike action by the aggrieved workers.

“Following a directive by the Zambia Union of Journalists  (ZUJ) that Times of Zambiaworkers, who have not been paid salaries for over nine months now, the employees reported for work on Tuesday with the view of downing tools,” the source said. “However, by that time management had already come to the Ministry to seek advise on how the strike could be halted. Our Ministry officials told them that the workers at Times of Zambiacould not go on strike without declaring a dispute with the employer.”

The sources said wha remained for the employees was to declare that dispute with the employer, which ultimately had to pass through the Labour Commissioner.

“The other option they have is to go to court if the labour dispute way gets problematic,” the source said. “However, some officials from the Industrial Development Corporation had a meeting with Times of Zambia employees, and they have assured them that they would be paid three-month salary arrears soon. That is where things are at the moment. “

Information and Broadcasting Services minister Dora Siliya, said recently that the government-owned and state-controlled Times of Zambia was a loss-making business despite employing a lot of people.