THE Government’s decision to remove itself from the role of providing grants to district councils will result in council workers going for months without salaries, ZCTU secretary general Cosmas Mukuka has warned.
And ZCTU has appealed to President Edgar Lungu to intervene and rescind the decision by Government to stop providing salary grants to district councils.
This follows Government’s enactment of the Local Government Act No. 12 of 2014, which removes the State from the role of providing grants to district councils as contained in Local Government Act No. 6 of 2010.
Mr Mukuka said the amendment of the Act of 2010 meant that district councils would now have to meet the cost of salaries but most councils did not have the capacity to pay salaries to its workers.
He said some workers were currently in salary arrears of about 30 months and the situation would be compounded by the withdrawal of grants by Government.
“Workers in councils are now expecting their March salaries but there are no grants to meet this cost. This will undoubtedly make it difficult for councils to survive,” he said.
Mr Mukuka said ZCTU was disturbed by Government’s decision to stop the grants, adding that it would adversely affect the delivery of services and further demotivate council workers which would result in low productivity.
“The congress would like to make an urgent appeal to the Republican President Mr Lungu to reverse this Act because its implementation will worsen the financial situation of district councils and will result in local authorities delivering poor services to communities,” he said.
Mr Mukuka said Government should further consider transferring the payment of salaries of the collective agreement signed between the Zambia United Local Authorities Workers Union (ZULAWU) and Government in September 2014.
He said it was unacceptable that Government decided to amend the Local Government Act No.6 of 2010, which provides for the allocation of grants to district councils such as salary grants, fire services grants, grant in lieu of rates, restricting grants, and water and sanitation grants among other services.
“We condemn and reject this move by Government because it is in bad taste and will only serve to worsen service delivery by district councils and we want this Act reversed.
We also wonder why the amendment of this Act was initiated by the Ministry of Finance instead of the line ministry, the Local Government,” he said.