Fred M'membe

Mr Hakainde Hichilema and his corrupt, far-right UPND puppet regime must urgently attend to the incidences of wage theft for local government or council workers.

The recent clash where Lusaka City Council workers were kept for four months without pay confirms the magnitude of wage theft and its consequences for the affected workers and their families.

This government must not take advantage of the scarcity of well-paying jobs in the country today and deliberately resort to the exploitation of workers such as we are witnessing in our local government system. Sadly, all this is happening as the politicians serving in this government are earning exorbitant salaries while trying to cheat their way out by citing the economy as the main contributor to their inability to pay workers a decent wage on time.

This cannot be allowed to continue. Workers’ rights cannot continue to be violated with no decisive state intervention. It’s the duty of Mr Hichilema and his government to protect the interests of council workers countrywide and ensure that a decent wage is paid on time, especially under the trying economic circumstances that this very government has subjected our people to.

We cannot have a situation where wages and benefits are never remitted on time. Most of these workers have gone for many months without receiving their monthly salaries yet are expected to report for work as if everything is normal. Non-payment of wages is a very serious problem and this government should not be self-satisfied about tackling this issue. A lot is at stake and there is no room for laxity.
Mr Hichilema and his corrupt puppet regime should know that failure to remit monthly wages contributes to the disintegration of the family system due to high poverty levels, leading to starvation and squalor. Let them know that wage theft is impoverishing many workers and making once decent families resort to formulating desperate coping strategies to make ends meet, which in the long-run ends up destroying families irretrievably.

Further, wage theft is largely responsible for the social crisis many families face in the country today, particularly as it takes away dignity and self-respect from the workers. Without doubt, inability to support the family brings shame, humiliation and in extreme cases depression or even death. And so, this government must attend to the plight of the suffering majority of the workers of this country.

Let Mr Hichilema and his league immediately sort out the broken-down governance and industrial relations structures in this government. If they don’t, local government and other exploited workers in this country, whose rights are being violated by this UPND government should not worry, because their dignity and respect through better and timely pay will be returned in the Socialist society, which is coming.
You cannot have a society where council workers are ever in suspense and not able to predict their payday.
A living wage and predictable payday must become a reality for all the workers of Zambia!
One bad term doesn’t deserve another, aleya!

Fred M’membe
President of the Socialist Party


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