Casualisation and slavery at Zesco

Casualisation and slavery at Zesco

ZESCO has a long history of using employees and keeping them on casual basis. They are referred to as General Workers or Casuals, this is a crop of hardworking
individuals; actually do alot of specific jobs. The management’s treatment of these workers leaves much to be desired particularly for us
Casual/General Workers. ZESCO casuals from as far back as 2014 have been recieving a salary of between k900 – k1300 on 3 months renewable contracts.These casuals
do the majority of the work – we tend to faults, do the digging for cable faults, errecting of new lines, equipment monitoring and mostly going above and beyond the
call of duty. This is all while our collegues on permanent and pensionable employment are lazing around, missing work and spending their days doing their own personal
programmes in the end getting a respectable salary.

In 2016 the Management introduced the 1 Year General Worker Contracts, initially we thought this was the light at the end of the tunnel and would be a turn around for
us, we were mistaken. The salary is k1496.00 now tell me how we are supposed to raise a family, pay school fees, rent and buy food from that amount. The contract is
basically a copy and paste of the old 3months contract. It still has the One(1) day termination, no leave, no union representation and same salary scale.
How do we have a situation where our Funeral Grant of k3000 is double our salary, do they want us to kill all our parents and children for us to have some money.

Being a Casual in ZESCO is trully like being a slave. Most simple privileges are denied to us. A painful case is that of the Health benefit of using ZESCO Clinic
located at Headoffice; because of our tight budgets we cant afford to buy medication from chemists, we could atleast go the ZESCO Clinic, be attended to and be
given medicine. unfortunately in 2017 Zesco Management decided to ban all Casuals/General Workers from using the Clinic because a few amongst us had been accused
of selling medication received from the Clinic. Is this fair to punish Casuals/General Workers in this inhumane manner – this is just one example of how bad things are
for us.

In June 2018 about 1500 General Workers were laid off and we were told that management wanted to trim the numbers before hiring us on Permanent and Pensionable
Employment. What we saw was the opposite: secret interviews for jobs not advertised and employing of individuals into positions that we were promised.
For us doing the actual job everyday we are not even considered they bring their children, girlfriends and cadres to fill our positions majority of whom are
under qualified and clueless – we train them and show them how to work. Most of us have papers and the experience why then are we disadvantaged even to attend
interviews?. There is alot of anger and bitterness amongst my fellow collegues toward these new employees because you cannot keep doing this to people without
them reacting.

This year has come with its own dangers; in January 2019 our collegues in Horticulture (Charged with maintaining grounds and sweeeping) were reverted from the
1 Year Contract back to the 3 month Contract,(why revert back to the 3 month contracts?) by April 2019 they had all been replaced by new faces.
Imagine some have worked for the Corporation for as long as 10years now to be thrown on to the streets to wash cars. Is how heartless management have become?.
All of it just lies.

We have no one to talk on our behalf and if we attempt to ask questions concerning our plight our jobs are threatened. Why should Management of ZESCO continue giving
us empty promises? telling us the company has no money, when we know better. Why do they employee from outside before considering people within doing the job already?
Most of the jobs we do are indefinate in nature therefore we should be given permanent positions. We dont know where to run to perhaps people can hear our Cry!

Concerned General/Casual Worker

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