Kitwe council suspends union leaders over strike

Following the ongoing strike, the Kitwe City Council has suspended union leaders Steven Kamponge and Josua Phiri . Acording to the letters signed by Kitwe Town Clerk Bornwell Luanga , the duo have been put on suspension for inciting workers to strike. But the strike is expected to continue since most of the workers feel they are being intimidated.

Kitwe City Council (KCC) are on strike due to non-payment of salaries for two months for group four workers and those getting salaries from Central government.

The other reason for the strike was to protest over the refusal by the council to renew contracts of some cleaners, sweepers, police officers and cashiers because it wanted to create employment for councilors’ children and relatives.

By 10.00hours, almost all the workers had left the civic centre and police arrived an hour after all the workers had left the civic centre

But Town Clerk Bornwell Luanga says the strike was illegal and urged the workers to resume work tomorrow or face unspecified disciplinary action if they do not resume work by tomorrow.

Zambia United Local Authorities Workers Union (ZULAWU) Kitwe branch Secretary Steven Kamponge said the workers had resolved to go on strike because of non-payment of salaries for two months for group four workers and those getting salaries from central government.

Mr Kamponge said the workers’ patience had been taken for granted by the management at the council and so the workers decided to go on strike so that its absence could be felt by the management.

Mr Kamponge, who was in the company of other union leaders denounced the leadership of Town Clerk Bornwell Luanga, and warned him that he would see the worst if he he was not careful in the way he was treating the union and the workers.

“We are on strike because of non-payment of two months salaries for workers in group four and those paid by the central government. We believe an injury to one is an injury to all. So we want money or else this work stoppage will continue. In fact, tomorrow, it may get even worse,” Mr Kamponge said.

Mr Kamponge said, apart from the non-payment of salaries, the union had decided to stage a work stoppage over the decision by the council not to renew the contract of some workers who were on contract because it wanted to employ councilors’ children and relatives.

He said the workers who contracts had not been renewed in order to create employment for councilors children and relatives had worked in the council for many years and were promised to be employed on full time.

“Yes, it is true that these people whose contracts have not been renewed will be replaced by councilors relatives and children. It is really sad that people can be treated like this just because they are not related to the councilor. Councilors are bringing in their relatives to be employed at the council,” He said.

But, Town Clerk Bornwell Luanga said the instigators of the illegal strike were the local union leaders who went into every office to remove every one who was working in his office.

Mr Luanga said the Permanent Secretary at the ministry of local government was surprised that workers at the KCC had decided to go on strike when he had deposited the money in the account.

He said all workers should resume work tomorrow or else they face disciplinary action from the management.

“Workers starting in group one, two, three and four should resume work tomorrow failure to which unspecified disciplinary action will be taken. When we phone the PS, he expressed ignorance on the matter because the money is in the bank.

“We can’t have such kind of people within our employment. This is indiscipline on the side of the workers. The protest is uncalled for and it is an illegal strike. This is indiscipline on the part of the union leaders,” Mr Luanga said.

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