The Ministry of Labour has given the University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) a 48-hour ultimatum to show cause as to why their certificate of registration should not be cancelled for allegedly violating the Industrial and Labour Relations Act.
This follows remarks by UNZALARU General Secretary Kelvin Mambwe that “if an election was to be held today, only those enjoying with the ruling Patriotic Front and idiots would vote for them.”
Dr. Mambwe’s comments, made on Monday during a protest by the union against delayed December salaries, have angered the ruling Patriotic Front which has since prevailed on the Ministry of Labour and UNZA management to take some form of action.
Labour Commissioner Mukamasole Kasanda in a notice of cancellation of registration to UNZALARU said: “Your statement calling any Zambian an idiot for voting for a particular political party whether in the past, present or future was not addressed to your members alone but all citizens. The statement was also not in lines with Section 3 of the Labour and Industrial Relations Act Cap 269 and was also outside the objectives for which your union was formed with Article 3 of your constitution.
“Therefore you are advised to show cause in writing as to why your certificate of registration should not be cancelled for violating the Industrial and Labour Relations Act Cap 269 persuant to Section 12 (2) of the said Act.”
And UNZA Registrar Sitali Wamundila, in a letter to Dr. Mambwe dated January 7, said: “Management is giving you 48 hours from the date hereat to show cause as to why it must not invoke provisions of Amendment Act 8 of 2008 with the view to ask the Labour Commission to terminate the Recognition Agreement between (UNZA) Management and your trade union.”
Wamundila went on to state that if Management did not receive a response from UNZALARU within the 48-hour period it would go ahead and deregister the union.
Meanwhile, Labour Permanent Secretary Chanda Kaziya says Dr Mambwe’s statement is Not in line with section 3 of the industrial and Labour relations Act Chapter 269 and was outside the objectives of the Union.
He says the statement is insulting and politically inclined, and that the comments have potential to cause anarchy in the country.
Kaziya says Dr Mambwe’s sentiments are uncalled for and do Not denote the principals of industrial relations and workers representation.
He told ZNBC News in an interview that the Ministry of Labour will Not hesitate to Envoke the law in cancelling certificates of registration for Trade Unions that are not abiding by the labour laws.
Kaziya has since warned all trade unions that are contemplating to engage in activities outside their realm of trade unionism.