CIVIL servants suffer physical pain that comes with very little food and long hours of work; emotional pain steaming from the daily humiliation of dependency and lack of power, says Judiciary and Allied Workers Union of Zambia president Peter Mwale.
And Mwale says the miners, who recently lost their jobs, are going through untold suffering and misery together with their families.
In his speech of solidarity to the Civil Servants and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (CSAWUZ) 9th quadrennial conference at the New Fairmount Hotel, Mwale said poverty levels among civil servants were too high.
“Poverty is pain. Poor civil servants suffer physical pain that comes with too little food and long hours of work; emotional pain steaming from the daily humiliations of dependency and lack of power; and the moral pain from being forced to make choices such as whether to use limited salaries to feed our children or take our children to school and also take them to clinics or hospitals,” Mwale said.
He said his union and other union leaders have been engaging the PF leadership but that nothing was working for the workers.
Mwale said poverty was like a disease as it attacks a person not only materially but also morally.
“Poverty eats away one’s dignity and drives into total despair. The authorities do not seem to see poor workers. Everything about the poor workers is despised and above all, poor workers are despised,” he said.
“The cost of staple food mealie-meal is extremely high and I know that it is above K80 in most parts of the country…we are not politicians. Recently, electricity tariffs were hiked by a big margin, making it impossible for us to buy from our meagre salaries.”
Mwale said farmers could no longer afford farming inputs because everything in Zambia had gone up.
“We demand for a fair share of public resources in terms of salaries. It is the workers who are suffering in the equation of distribution of public resources. Unless we unite and demand that government pays attention to our salaries, transport and housing allowances, we will not move from the bottom of the equation,” said Mwale.
“We are duty bound to talk about what happened in the mining sector in Zambia. As union leaders, we should not keep quiet when social and economic conditions are bad especially for the majority poor workers.”