President Edgar Lungu says his government has cancelled all labour day events such as marching at National, Provincial and District levels.
The president announced that there will be no public gatherings to commemorate the annual labour-day which falls on May 1, 2020 countrywide in view of the corona virus which has continued to affect the country.
It is indeed regrettable that the Corona Virus pandemic has robbed both the workers and employers the opportunity to celebrate this year’s labour day in the usual manner by way of public gatherings. Unfortunately this is not possible this year due to the restrictions on gatherings such as conferences, weddings, funerals and festivals,Dr Lungu said.
He said the labour day award presentations should be undertaken at institutional or company level subject to compliance with health regulations.
He added that the theme for this years’ labour day, ‘’Reducing Developmental Inequalities through sustainable job creation,’’ reflects Zambia’s aspiration and commitment to delivering development to the people through various interventions spelt out in Vision 2030 and the Seventh National Development Plan.
Dr Lungu further disclosed that in an effort to regulate the employment and labour market, government had convened with its social partners namely; The Zambia Federation of Employers and Zambia Congress of Trade Unions to come up with certain measures.
The measures adopted by the tripartite included the placement of employees on paid annual leave; placement of employees on forced leave in instances where the employer is unable to sustain employees on full pay in consultation with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
Dr Lungu said should the pandemic prolong, government in consultation with the tripartite consultative labour council shall consider further mitigating action permissible at law if public health threat deteriorates or fails to abate within an agreed timeframe.
The mitigating action would include exemptions contained under section 2 of the employment code Act NO.3 of 2019.
Companies applying for exemptions will be expected to submit certain documents for verification’s and assessment,he said.
The president’s pronouncements come in wake of the increased number of cases involving illegal termination of contract of employment, unauthorized sending of employees on forced leave, declaring employees as redundant and non-payment of employees’ salaries compared to last year.
This is contained in a press statement made available to the media by Presidential Press Secretary Isaac Chipampe.