Bushtracks Zambia boss accused of preventing workers from joining union

Employees of Bushtracks Africa in Livingstone have accused managing director Christopher Tett of practising racism and using vulgar language on workers.

The employees have also complained that Mr. Tett has threatened to dismiss the workers if they did not withdraw their membership from the Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (HCAWUZ).

On Wednesday February 15, 2012, Mr. Tett called for a meeting to address the workers where he is alleged to have used racist remarks and vulgar language towards his workers and instructed them to join the Transport Union and not the Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (HCAWUZ).

Mr. Tett is also alleged to have uttered unpalatable words towards the government of Zambia claiming he has been paying his workers better than what the law of the land stipulates.

His utterance followed the decision by the employees to enter into recognition with the Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (HCAWUZ).

The workers who felt humiliated decided to seek guidance from the newly appointed Livingstone District Commissioner Paul Sensele who later sent the Senior Labour Officer Luke Chungu to verify the allegation with management.

But Mr. Tett refused to meet Mr. Chungu saying that his diary was full with appointments and advised him to see on Thursday next week, February 23, 2012.

Mr. Chungu rushed back to the district commissioner to report the matter. The District Commissioner later summoned Bushtrucks management to his office for an urgent meeting.

According to a source who attended the meeting in the DC’s office, Mr. Tett indicated that he did not refuse to meet the senior labour officer but that his diary was full up to Thursday next week.

Mr. Tett also disagreed that he threatened to dismiss his employees during a meeting he held with them but that he was merely explaining to them that he did not sanction the meeting they had with the union officials where they signed the stop order forms with the union which is a pre-requisite for employees to join a union.

He also quarried Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union of Zambia why they were targeting his company instead of the Transport Union.

Meanwhile, Livingstone Member of Parliament Lukulo Katombola who was also in attendance in the meeting told Mr. Tett that his decision to refuse to meet the labour officer was wrong and that the meeting was not called to harass him but to find a solution to the problem.

HCAWUZ Deputy Secretary General Michelo Chizyuka said during the meeting that the union does not only employees from the hotels but also represents employees from the institutions in the tourism sector.

However, Mr. Tett categorically stated that he shall not enter into recognition agreement with the union.u

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