Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda has maintained that there will be a wage and employment freeze for two years contrary to what Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba told the workers during the consultative meeting on Monday.
This reversal by Mr. Chikwanda comes barely three days after the bankrupt PF government, through the Secretary to the Treasury Fredson Yamba, promised the labour movement that they have reversed the two-year wage and employment freeze and that negotiations for salaries and conditions of service for 2014 would start soon.
But in line with the daily twists of events in the PF government, Chikwanda today told state owned and PF controlled ZNBC that the wage freeze and employment freeze for two years is real and that the unions are free to start negotiations for salaries and conditions of service that will be implemented in 2015.
“They are free to start negotiations. There are many things they can be talking about for 24 months. But implementations can only be in 2015 because there is a wage freeze,” Chikwanda told ZNBC’s live government forum programme.
The Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and its affiliate unions had planned for nationwide demonstrations against the wage but government quickly called for a consultative meeting at which it was resolved with the Mr. Yamba that there would no wage freeze.
Apparently, the same day and time Mr. Yamba was promising workers that there would be no wage freeze, Bank of Zambia Governor Michael Gondwe was also appearing before Parliamentary select committee of finance and also told them that there will indeed be a wage freeze.
Shortly after the meeting with government officials led by Fredson Yamba, ZCTU president Leonard Hikaumba posted this on his Facebook page and is still available:
The meeting with the govt is over. We have convinced govt to lift the Wage Freeze and open negotiations for next year. We thank the support we received from all the affected workers. As a result, the demonstration which was scheduled for Wednesday has been cancelled.