Govt owes former council workers K500m

By Ernest Mwape-Government has not yet paid redundancy packages amounting to over 500,000,000 kwacha to former Mpika district council employees who were transferred to Chambeshi Water and Sewerage Company (CWSC) six years ago, the Watchdog online has learnt today.

And the water utility company owes over 30 million kwacha in salary arrears to 29 former council employees transferred to them.

The local authority terminated the services of 29 workers following the commercialization of the Mpika Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Services (MUWSSS) in September 2003.

The former workers were transferred from the local authority to CWSC after working out their redundancy packages in accordance with the guidelines provided by the ministry of Local government and Housing. CWSC took the full responsibility of the services in accordance with the National Water Policy of 1994.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, some affected former Council workers complained that despite assurances that the ministry of local government and housing would pay them their dues within the shortest time there was nothing forthcoming.

The irate former workers protested that they did not know why government was adamant to clear them when NCC which came later than their problem and the by elections were receiving serious attention.

“At the time we were receiving letters of termination of employment with the Mpika district council and appointment under Chambeshi Water and Sewerage Company we were assured that redundancy payments shall in this respect be met by the ministry in full being overseers of the said commercialization process,” the former workers grumbled.

They observed that the continuous delay by government to pay redundancy packages had created anxiety among them because most of them feared that they might receive their dues post humorous. “The continuous delay by our government to give us our redundancy packages is worrisome to many of us because we may receive our monies after we are dead meaning that it will be enjoyed by other people,” they lamented.

They revealed that out of the total number of 29 former council employees who were transferred to Chambeshi, seven have since retired, while three others have died leaving behind their redundancy packages. The former council workers appealed to the ministry of local government and housing to speed up the process of liquidating their dues.

The unpaid salary arrears for the workers who were transferred to CWSC cover a period of five months as from January to May 2004.

The sources disclosed that they tried to take legal action against their employer, but were threatened with dismissals forcing them to abandon the idea.

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