5 – No guarantee of rights
The ITUC Global Rights Index

Zambia

The ITUC affiliate in Zambia is the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

In practice

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International Drug Company (IDC) fires workers for demanding decent wages31-10-2014

The International Drug Company in Kabwe fired over 40 workers at the end of October 2014 for demanding decent wages from the pharmaceutical company, which has been accused of paying slave wages and of allowing managers to verbally abuse workers.

Some of the dismissed workers reported that they had worked as casual workers for over four years and were getting between K59 and K187 per week. They accused the company of creating a huge pool of casual workers as a way of avoiding permanent job creation.

In 2013 the company banned union membership and threatened to dismiss all workers who were affiliated to the Zambia Union of Technical and Allied Workers (ZUTAW). Sources from the Labour Ministry in Kabwe confirmed having received the complaints from the workers and promised to undertake a fact finding mission to the plant located in the industrial area.

Sugar company fired five union officials for organising a strike15-06-2014

Management at the Nanga Sugar Company in Mazabuka dismissed five National Union of Plantation and Allied Workers (NUPAW) officials in mid-June 2014 for allegedly inciting fellow workers to go on an illegal strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. The five officials were handed summary dismissal letters following the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
that took place at the company in April to demand fair working conditions. Eight other members were handed final warning letters by management.

Those dismissed were the union chairman, Comment Siamanenga, his vice-chair Joseph Lungu, administrative secretary Kebby Muchelemba, Kalaluka Mutukwa, a financial secretary, and Alfred Kwale, a union trustee. Comment Siamanenga described the action as intimidation of a legally recognised union and accused management at the company of failing to follow the established procedure in handling their dismissal.

Hotel still refusing to reinstate sacked strikers10-02-2015

ZCTU Secretary General Cosmas Mukuka told a media briefing on 10 February 2015 that management at the Intercontinental Hotel was still refusing to reinstate 34 workers unfairly dismissed after going on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. A total of 130 workers had been dismissed for striking, and it had taken the intervention of the Hotels and Catering Workers Union of Zambia and the Ministry of Labour to intervene for 96 workers to be reinstated. Mr Mukuka recalled that the workers at the hotel had followed the law before going on strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
by taking all steps required to call a strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
. Despite a directive from the Ministry of Labour to reinstate the remaining 34 workers, management at the Intercontinental Hotel had adamantly refused.

Hotels refusing to allow workers to join unions14-05-2014

On 14 May 2014 the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) held a meeting with the management of the New Fairmount Hotel, Livingstone, warning them that they must allow their workers to form or join trade unions. The hotel had hitherto refused to allow its workers to join trade unions. The ZCTU gave it a five-day ultimatum to allow workers to sign up to unions. Trade unions often used the hotel for workshops and conferences, but the ZCTU would instruct unions not to use the hotel any more if it continued its anti-union stance. The warning appears to have worked. ZCTU General Secretary Roy Mwaba also warned that there were other hospitality entities in the country that were violating their workers’ rights by refusing to allow them to belong to a trade union, and that they would also apply sanctions to them if they failed to allow workers to exercise their freedom of association freedom of association The right to form and join the trade union of one’s choosing as well as the right of unions to operate freely and carry out their activities without undue interference.

See Guide to the ITUC international trade union rights framework
.

Workers are dismissed for striking15-10-2013
Violation of collective agreement05-07-2013

The Zambia National Teachers Union (ZNUT) stated that the government is not implementing a concluded collective agreement which stipulates improved working conditions. While the agreement should have been implemented in June 2013, it is still not clear when it will be effective. The union has threatened to take strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
action if the government continues to disregard the agreement.

Anti-union discrimination05-06-2013

The Kitwe City Council has engaged in disciplinary action against trade union leaders and members who had participated in a prolonged work stoppage over delayed salaries. Two trade union leaders from the Zambia United Local Authority Workers Union (ZULAWU) who were linked to the strike strike The most common form of industrial action, a strike is a concerted stoppage of work by employees for a limited period of time. Can assume a wide variety of forms.

See general strike, intermittent strike, rotating strike, sit-down strike, sympathy strike, wildcat strike
action, were suspended. Furthermore, ZULAWU Kitwe branch deputy secretary Stephen Kamponge and Joshua Phiri were transferred to different positions in order to prevent future union activities.

Violence against trade unionists28-02-2013

In February 2013, the government seized Collum Mine over poor working conditions and violations of trade union rights. There has been frequent industrial unrest since the mine was privatised in 2003. In October 2010, 13 mineworkers were injured when two managers at the mine opened fire on striking workers. Charges against the two managers were later dropped by the State. A pay dispute at the mine in 2012 after government raised the minimum wage resulted in a spontaneous protest by workers during which a Chinese supervisor was killed and another was injured.

Anti-union discrimination31-07-2012

In February 2012, the Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) dismissed 19 miners, including a union official from the United Mineworkers Union of Zambia (UMWUZ), for allegedly inciting miners to protest after the company awarded its employees a 17% salary rise. UMWUZ stated that the union official who had been fired was merely there to tell the workers to resume work.

Charges dropped against Chinese supervisors charged in mine shooting01-04-2011

The prosecutors in charge of the case against two Chinese supervisors who shot at miners in October 2010 decided at the beginning of April to drop the charges against them after the company agreed to pay compensation. The two were facing 13 counts of attempted murder after they fired live ammunition into a crowd of miners on 15 October 2010 during a protest over a wage dispute at the Chinese-owned Collum coal mine, a major supplier of coal to Zambia’s copper and cobalt sector. The incident provoked outrage among many Zambians, whose opposition is growing to China’s huge economic influence over their country.

Working conditions at the mine are extremely harsh and wages are often no more than four dollars a day. The Chinese supervisors speak very little English and nothing of the local languages. They are therefore unable to communicate properly with their workers.

At the time of the incident the Zambian government had promised that the shootings would be thoroughly investigated and that a full and fair trial would be held. The prosecutors did not give a reason for dropping the charges.

Labour rights abuses at Chinese run mines31-12-2011

A report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) released at the end of October revealed a string of workers’ rights abuses at Chinese mining companies in Zambia. The report, “You’ll Be Fired If You Refuse’: Labor Abuses in Zambia’s Chinese State-owned Copper Mines”, based on interviews with miners between November 2010 and July 2011 reveals long working hours and appalling health and safety standards. Miners are expected to work 12 or even 18 hour shifts in poor ventilation, which can cause lung disease, and lacking vital safety equipment. Protests are not tolerated. Outspoken union representatives faced retaliation, and the workers’ rights to join a union were violated by Chinese managers, HRW researchers found (see Violations).

Complaints about Chinese business practices in Zambia stretch back years and often are pointed to as examples of problems with Chinese investors across Africa. In 2005, an explosion at a Chinese-owned factory in northern Zambia killed 51 Zambian workers. In 2010 two Chinese managers were accused of shooting coal miners during a labor dispute (see 2010 Survey and Violations below).

Another practice undermining attempts by workers to improve their lot is casualisation casualisation The practice of increasing the flexibility of the workforce by replacing permanent, full-time workers with workers on temporary, irregular contracts. . Speaking in May 2011, Mundia Sikufele president of National Union of Miners and Allied Workers warned that most foreign investors were circumventing labour laws by employing workers as casuals. Mr Sikufele called on the government to stiffen regulations and intensify labour inspection labour inspection An authority responsible for ensuring compliance with labour laws and legal provisions relating to protection of workers through the inspection of workplaces. .

President Michael Sata came to power in September vowing to clean up the mining industry.

Government intimidation31-12-2010

In September, the General Secretary of the Mineworkers’ Union of Zambia (MUZ), Oswell Munyenyembe, protested that the government intimidated the union whenever it spoke out on issues affecting miners. Matters came to a head after the MUZ repeatedly voiced concerns about the government’s decision to allow Vale, a Brazilian mining giant, to start operating in Zambia. The government disregarded the union’s concerns and instead accused it of being used by the opposition. The MUZ pointed out it did not need the opposition to tell it to defend miners’ interests. The MUZ’s views and concerns about Vale were based on the company’s record of mistreating workers at mines it operated in other countries.

Unions facing difficult conditions and growing casualisation31-12-2010

Former Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) President, Fackson Shamenda, observed that trade unions in the country were operating under difficult conditions, given the political climate, the economic situation and consequent job losses. Meanwhile the Labour and Social Security Minister, Austin Liato, publically criticised some employers for using temporary workers to fill traditionally permanent positions simply to avoid paying statutory employment benefits to workers, leading to growing casualisation casualisation The practice of increasing the flexibility of the workforce by replacing permanent, full-time workers with workers on temporary, irregular contracts. and making union organising organising The process of forming or joining a trade union, or inducing other workers to form or join one. all the more difficult.

Legal strikes futile30-11-2009
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