Chikwanda, Shamenda differ over implementation of wage freeze

Sharp differences have emerged between labour Minister Fackson Shamenda and Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda over the implementation of the two years wage freeze for civil servants and employees for quasi-government institutions.

Management and employees from quasi-government departments have been requesting Mr. Chikwanda to allow them commence negotiations for better conditions of service for this year but he has been refusing.

But the same employees and their management have since appealed to Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda and has given them a go ahead and increase salaries for this year despite wage freeze.

” It is total reining in PF government and their ministers concerning the wage freeze. Almost a month ago the Ministry of Finance informed us not negotiate with the Union for 2014 salary increments on account of the wage freeze in the public sector. And that no resources will be provided to us for salary increment even if we did negotiate. But following the directives from the Ministry of Finance, our Union engaged the Minister of Labor Fackson Shamenda with a view of persuading him to intervene.

During the meeting Mr. Shamenda was very categorical and clear that as long as he remains Minister he will not allow illegality to be perpetuated by Chikwanda who lacks basic understanding of labour matters,” said sources from one of the unions from a quasi-government department.

According to sources, Shamenda said Mr. Chikwanda can mess up the economy if he so wishes, like he is doing, but labour matters are not his baby. He further said he was ready to resign if such anomalies were not addressed.

“True to his resolve and word he has since directed our management to negotiate with the Union and award us a living wage, especially with the high cost of living,” sources said.

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