MINISTER of Labour and Social Security Fackson Shamenda has branded owners of Hotel InterContinental as “arrogant investors”.
And Mr Shamenda charged that the Hotel Inter-Continental does not deserve to be called a five-star hotel because its services were akin to that of a lower grade hotel.
Speaking during the Media Launch of the Labour Laws Awareness Campaign in the Construction sector held at Hotel Inter-Continental yesterday, Mr Shamenda said the hotel had refused to get advice from his ministry and the labour movement when it dismissed 130 workers last year.
“I am surprised that they call themselves a five star hotel when their services are like that of a three star hotel,” he said.
Inter-Continental Lusaka Hotel dismissed about 130 workers on allegations that they went on an illegal strike.
Mr Shamenda said he did not understand why the organisers of the event decided to host their function at a hotel which belonged to what the minister described as “arrogant investors”.
He said if it were up to him, he would have not organized the event at the hotel because of the attitude of its owners.
“Let us not give business to institutions which do not respect labour laws and the workers’ rights,” he said.
And Mr Shamenda said casualization would be a thing of the past from June this year once he presents the Labour Law Reforms Bill to Parliament.
“My ministry will be presenting a Bill to Parliament for the partial amendment to the Employment Act Cap 268 to address the vice of casualization and termination of contracts without giving reasons,” Mr Shamenda said.
He added that it was unfortunate that a large number of Zambian employers and workers remained unaware of their rights and remained unprotected from potential injustices or victimization. “Both employers and employees in the construction sector are at risk of suffering injustices in their business operations if they do not understand what is contained in the laws,” he said.He however said that the launch of the booklet on labour laws for the construction sector would help Government address cases of non-adherence to labour laws and protect the workforce.
And ILO director Martin Clemenson said compliance with the labour laws could enhance the growth prospects of business by contributing to improved working conditions for workers, increased productivity and ultimately improved competitiveness of the enterprise.
“Compliance therefore is an investment in a more productive workforce that will directly impact the performance of the business,” he said.