UNIONIZED workers at Kitwe City Council (KCC) yesterday staged a work stoppage to protest the non-payment of two months’ salary arrears.
The workers, who included the grave diggers, yesterday morning assembled at the Civic Centre, waiting to be addressed by senior management officials who were reported to be locked up in a meeting.
The workers are also demanding for the removal of some senior management officials who includes the Town Clerk Bornwell, Luanga, director of Finance Samuel Mumba and a director of administration identified as Mr Simfukwe for not looking after their welfare.
Zambia United Local Authorities Workers Union (ZULAWU) Kitwe branch vice treasurer Stephen Kamponge said more than 1,000 unionized workers had resolved to stage a work stoppage to protest non-payment of two month salary arrears.
Mr Kamponge also said, apart from the two months salary arrears, the council had not implemented the salary increment which was signed in October last year.
“Our members have resolved to go on strike because they have not been paid for two months and the management led by the Town Clerk Mr Luanga has no time for us. Every time we want to meet him as a union, to talk about salary issues, he is always busy.
“Mr Luanga is always out of office. Even this time he is out of office. So what am saying is that, as a union, we have tried to dialogue with management, but management seems not to be interested in dialoguing with us, hence our resolve to strike. Last time we were told that the council will first pay retirees who have taken the council to court before paying us,” said Mr Kamponge said.
But KCC public relations manager Dorothy Sampa said the management did not derive joy in failing to pay workers’ salaries, but that it was equally facing challenges in raising money to pay the workers, especially that it was also owed huge sums of money by residents and other institutions.
Ms Sampa said the council had a wage bill of K4 million, but had only managed to raise K1.5million for December salaries and that she was hoping to raise some more funds to meet the wage bill for December later.
“As management, we are really sorry for our workers especially that this is January and have to send their children to school, but we have a challenge in raising money for salaries,
“We have a wage bill of K4 million and we also need money for service delivery because we are a local authority. So we are asking our workers to be patient and join efforts in addressing the various challenges the council is facing,” Ms Sampa said.
Ms Sampa said the management was expecting to hold a meeting with the ZULAWU national leadership to chart the way forward regarding the strike action taken by the workers.