The Zambia Association of Musicians (ZAM) in partnership with Zambia Congress of Trade Unions is pondering a move to form a union for musicians.
According to a joint statement from the two bodies, the music union is planned to run independently from ZAM and will purely represent members on matters relating to their wages and performance fees.
“The Zambia Association of Musicians (ZAM) intends to form a union which will bring together performing musicians, comedians, actors, and visual artists and arts video producers in order to negotiate for conditions of work and wages,” read the statement.
Officials from ZAM and Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) have been having discussions aimed at spearheading the formation of the said union.
“The union will be separate from the Association as it will focus mainly on issues of conditions of work, wages, workers’ rights and employer/employee relations.
The Association will focus mainly on issues of professionalism among artists while the union will deal with the bread and butter matters,” the statement read. It is hoped that once formed, the union will help train musicians and other artists in trade unionism and will help provide negotiating skills to its members.
It is further hoped that once musicians and other artists are equipped with negotiating skills, they will be able to win better packages whenever they are hired to perform at functions.
Currently, some musicians are being exploited by clients because of limited negotiating skills. Equally, it is expected that by forming a trade union, workers in music outfits will know and understand their rights and will be able to demand what is rightfully theirs.
The ZCTU is currently organizing a trip for some ZAM executive members to visit Zimbabwe in order to learn how performing artists there have managed to form and operate a union.