Labour Commissioner urges workers to be vigilant against exploitation
By Staff Reporter
Labour Commissioner Chanda Kaziah has urged workers to be vigilant against the current exploitative conditions they are subjected to by foreign investors maximising profits at the expense of workers.
Speaking when he appeared on hot FM’s breakfast show last week, Kaziah stressed that most Zambian workers were exploited because they were ignorant of the existing labour laws.
“We have a Ministry of labour website and everybody is on Whatsap but nobody goes to the site. Nobody even makes a phone call through our toll free line, 7010. You would find that people would speak so much and eloquently on social media but no one takes time to start looking at ‘what is it that I must learn to protect myself’ as a first line of defence for an employee?” he asked.
He said the statutes were not bulky citing an example of the minimum wage Act, which was only four pages but people don’t read them.
When pressed by callers, who expressed disappointment in the way the Ministry has abandoned the plight of workers and how government officers connive with the employer to frustrate the appeals of the worker, the labour commissioner reiterated his stance saying Zambians do not take time to scrutinize their contracts each time they get a job.
“When a person is given a job, the first thing that a Zambian will think about is ‘ok I have a job’ and doesn’t go beyond to think about himself. This is why you find that the Chinese, the Indians, the Labanese and other investors have one fundamental action. They pit us against each other, they pit the employee against government. They tell you you can go and report, nothing will happen to me. I know them, they are on my pay roll’ the chap is lying and you are exploited because you believe,” he said.
Kaziah appealed to the Zambian worker to stop this exploitation by foreign investors saying “we can’t allow someone to come from somewhere else and benefit on our sweat for nothing”.
The commissioner however, said they would repackage the labour laws for easy access by the ordinary worker.