SOME employers in Lusaka are reportedly sacking their domestic employees coming from cholera infested townships in fear of contracting the disease.
It has been reliably learnt that the escalating number of cholera cases had left many domestic workers especially from Bauleni and Kanyama townships jobless.
But the workers described the action by their employers as harsh and unfair as they depended on their jobs for survival. Derrick Chikoti of Bauleni, who worked as a garden boy in Nyumba Yanga township, lamented that firing domestic workers who came from townships hit by cholera was unjustifiable.
“Coming from a compound that has been infested with cholera outbreak does not mean that one is carrying the bacteria,” he said.
Mr. Chikoti said that cholera was unpredictable and it could affect anyone, adding that there was no need for people to lose their jobs just because they were living in cholera infested areas. He appealed to the Ministry of Labour to seriously look into the issue because firing someone on the basis of suspected cholera was unjustified and should not be tolerated because it infringed on the rights of the workers.
Mr. Chikoti said that being a domestic worker was not by choice because if people had other means of survival no one would accept to work as a domestic worker.
‘’We all cannot be in formal employment; the fact that other people are working as maids and garden boys in the urban areas does not make them less human.
“We are all equal and the outbreak of cholera in our area is something we do not have control over and it is not right for us to be forced out of employment because of a disease that no one has control over,’’ she said. And Lucy Muzeya another resident of Bauleni said that firing workers did not help stop the spread of the disease.
Ms. Muzeya said that she had been working as a domestic worker in various suburbs and the fact that there was a disease outbreak workers should not be made to suffer the consequences.
“Cholera can break out in any compound, it’s there in Bauleni and Kanyama but what is going to happen if all the employers started firing workers. ‘‘It means that all of us coming from the affected areas will be out of employment and I think that is a very bad move at this time when people are talking about reducing unemployment in Zambia,’’ she said.
Ms Muzeya appealed to the relevant authorities to ensure that they looked into the matter and help the workers save their jobs. –Millennium Radio 90.5FM