Labour minister Fackson Shamenda says Times of Zambia management should ignore the 14-day directive by Chishimba Kambwili to pay salary arrears it owes its unionised workers because Kambwili was only acting when he issued the ultimatum.
Shamenda yesterday told the PF vuvuzela that he was aware of the many challenges that the Times of Zambia was facing but the government, through Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services, would quickly resolve them.
Kambwili, who was acting labour minister directed management at Times of Zambia to pay the salary arrears within 14 days, failure to which ‘heads would roll’.
He issued the ultimatum when he addressed journalists at his office on June 4, following a sit-in protest by unionised workers at the Times of Zambia over three-month salary arrears.
“I am the minister. He Kambwili was just acting and he did not have correct information. There was no proper communication and so, workers at the Times of Zambia must continue working and should remain patient because we have reached an advanced stage in resolving their challenges,” Shamenda said “I am aware that the minister of information is discussing with his colleague at the Ministry of Finance for the government to intervene in the challenges that the Times of Zambia is facing.”
Shamenda said the hurdles at the Times of Zambia had been on-going for a while, just like in the local councils across the country but the government was addressing them.
“We inherited these problems at the Times of Zambia from the MMD government but we are dealing with them. The same goes with councils, many of them had problems paying salaries for years but such is no longer the situation. We have lessened these challenges as a government,” said Shamenda.
Kambwili, in issuing the ultimatum said, the Times of Zambia was a parastatal which was expected to pay its workers on time in line with state policy.
He warned that the government was not going to allow Times of Zambia to fail to pay its workers.