Workers at the Luapula Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC) in Luapula province have gone on an indefinite strike.
The workers are demanding the immediate payment of their three months salary arrears and the government’s intervention to address the problem of funding that is dodging the water utility company.
The utility company’s Nchelenge district supervisor Mike Tembo confirmed the strike action by the workers in the province in an interview with ZANIS in Nchelenge today.
Mr. Tembo said the water utility company was currently not supplying the water commodity throughout the province following the strike action by the workers.
He said the workers resolved to go on strike yesterday morning and vowed not to resume work until the government intervenes and addresses their salaries drought and the funding challenges facing the organisation.
“I can confirm that currently we are not supplying water in the province because workers have resolved to go on an indefinite strike to press for payments of the three months wages,” Mr. Tembo said.
He further said the workers at the water utility company are not happy with the funding disparities to the Luapula Water and Sewerage Company compared to the other water utility entities in the country and wants them addressed.
He observed that out of the eleven water utility companies countrywide, his organisation was the least funded by the government despite its numerous challenges among them the underdeveloped infrastructure.
He pointed out that with enough funding his organisation would connect all the new districts in Luapula thereby gaining an advantage to meet the salary obligations for its workers and other running costs without problems.
He alleged that the government has been selective and has massively supported other utility companies financially to bolster the water reticulation systems in those respective provinces.
He observed that LWSC in Nchelenge and Luapula Province as a whole is still in its formative years and requires capital investments for it to woe customers.
He noted that the company in Nchelenge pumps the water direct from the open lake without passing through any filtration process adding that this situation has had an adverse effect on customer confidence.
Mr. Tembo further said the water utility company is in dire need of a facelift in order to operate at full scale and urged the government to urgently look into the problems of funding.
Meanwhile, LWSC Manager for Nchelenge district Mweni Chipyoka hoped that the government would move in quickly and resolve the impasse by the workers at the water utility company.
Confirming the work stoppage by the workers of LWSC in the province to ZANIS this morning, Mr. Chipyoka said Nchelenge is prone to water borne diseases and the work stoppage at the water utility company may trigger diarrhea diseases.