PUBLIC service workers and the labour movement should desist from engaging in partisan politics in their discharge of duties before, during and after the 11th August general elections, President Edgar Lungu warned yesterday.
President Lungu has also ordered that public service workers with the intention of taking an active role in politics should resign their positions so that they concentrate on their political careers.
The President said as the country was drawing closer to the August general elections, it was his sincere hope that Zambians would remain peaceful as they had ever been so that the nation could continue moving as one.
The Head of State said this yesterday when he officiated at the Labour Day commemorations held under the theme “Achieving national development through productive decent work, sustainable job creation and social justice”.
President Lungu said this year’s theme was in line with the aspirations of Patriotic Front (PF) government to foster national development and promote productive decent work aimed at ensuring inclusiveness and equity for all workers.
“Let me assure you, fellow workers, that as a God-fearing President and a Christian, I will continue to preach peace, unity, love and respect for humanity in our country.
“As we draw closer to the general elections scheduled for 11th August 2016, my sincere appeal is that we should remain peaceful as we have always been. I want to emphasise that we must all ensure that we move forward in unity as a nation,” he said.
He reiterated his call for the public service workers and the labour movement in general to ensure non-partisanship as they discharge their duties before, during and after elections.
President Lungu said his Government had advised civil servants intending to take an active role in politics to resign and concentrate on their new political careers.
He said his Government would continue focusing on policies, strategies and programmes that would significantly contribute to employment creation, human development and broad-based pro-poor growth.
“It is for this reason that special attention has been placed on the promotion of increased investments in infrastructure such as roads, schools and health facilities country-wide.
“In addition, my Government continues to invest in sectors such as agriculture and tourism to create wealth and employment. Consequently, over 7,000 formal jobs were created in various sectors of the economy in 2015,” he said.
The Head of State observed that the Zambian economy had continued to be buoyant despite the economic challenges both on the domestic and international fronts.
He said the need to create decent jobs remained one of the core priorities and policy objectives which the Patriotic Front government had embarked on.
President Lungu said as a member of the United Nations family, Zambia was committed to ensuring that the UN Sustainable Development Goals were fully realised, in particular goal no. 8 which places emphasis on decent work and economic growth.
He said that as recent experience has shown, reliance on copper as a source of employment and economic growth may not be sustainable.
President Lungu said there was need to develop other industries which could sustain the economy when the mining industry experienced downturns.
“My Government is committed to providing equal access to employment for the youths, men, women and people living with disabilities among others. This is in line with the International Labour Organisation convention no.122 which seeks to promote equality among different classes of the workforce,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Head of State has directed the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to ensure that the national productivity policy is finalised. He said the policy was key to enhancing Zambia’s competitiveness at local and global levels.
“As workers, your role is to increase input in order to contribute to increased levels of productivity. This calls for all employees to demonstrate their commitment to productive decent work by reducing absenteeism and exhibiting positive attitude towards work,” he said.
President Lungu said his Government was determined to ensure that workers were given the dignity and respect that they deserved. He said the new Constitution provided for circuit courts of the Industrial Relations Court to improve access to social justice for aggrieved workers.