This year’s labour day has been the least attended in the last three years due to PF government’s bad economic policies which have led to job losses and workers’s abuse,a reliable source from the Zambia congress of Trade Unions has told the Zambian Watchdog.
Recently the opposition UPND called on workers to boycott the labour day as a way of pressing government to improve working conditions and respect workers but in a desperate move, government plotted to parade PF cadres to pose as workers but the scam was exposed by this publication.
And in Kabwe businessmen defied government’s directive to close their premises to beef up numbers of attendees. Some businessmen said it was foolish for government to order them to close their shops just for that exercise when workers themselves have boycotted the day.
Addressing a paltry crowd of workers mixed with small children at Kabwe’s Godfrey Chitalu stadium, education minister John Phiri was booed by the audience when he said that PF has been the most worker friendly government since 1964.
Phiri who kept asking the crowd to clap for him during his long but boring speech later said he was sent to deliver his message by President Michael Sata but the gimmick did not change the audience attention. Phiri, dressed in all black, behaved more like a drunk comedian than a cabinet minister representing the head of state.
Instead the speech by ZCTU district chairman Emmerson Pukuma who castigated government for the infamous wage and employment increase amid high cost of living drew an applause from the audience.
Pukuma said government had subjected Zambians to a lot of misery as a result of low jobs created and under development. He challenged government to reopen the giant Zambia China Mulungushi textiles and help revamp the Kabwe Industrial Fabrics (Kifco). He also demanded that government explains why the shoddy road contractor has been entertained when all the company was doing was block roads with logs which are supposed to be used at funerals.
During Pukuma’s speech, Kabwe DC Patrick Chishala instructed the master of ceremony to cut him short but the versatile labour leader refused and warned government that labour day was workers’ day and should not be interfered with, much to the delight of the audience who gave him a thunderous applause.