NATIONAL Museums Board workers have planned countrywide protests scheduled to begin today to press for their three-month salary arrears. And University of Zambia Allied Workers Union (UNZAAWU) vice-president Gasi Giancarlo has revealed that tension is mounting at National
Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC) South-West Regional office as workers have threatened to close the office of a director in Livingstone for allegedly not accepting dialogue over delayed salaries. Giancarlo, in an interview, wondered how many ministers and permanent secretaries could accept to go for three months without pay.
“Workers at the National Museums Board (NMB) have resolved to stage a peaceful protest pleading to be paid what they have worked for. Throughout the period of no salaries, our members have been loyal, patient and committed to duty,” Giancarlo said.
He added that the NMB workers now felt this was the time to act.
“We also wish to inform the government that in an event that only one grant is received to pay for one month salaries, members have categorically put it clear that the protests shall continue until their demands to be paid the three months salaries are met,” Giancarlo said.
He, however, added that the union does not take pleasure in allowing its members to protest as this affected the operations of the institution but added that “when the situation demands, the union sees no other alternatives”.
Giancarlo said the situation that workers at institutions affiliated to UNZAAWU were facing had convinced the union that “government does not care about their plight”.
He wondered why the government was segregating workers when it came to salaries. Giancarlo further indicated that it was strange that government ministers were given media coverage by the state owned ZNBC whenever they castigated workers for reporting late for work but never carried news items on workers’ cries over delayed salaries.
“Why should the public media make it a secret to tell the nation that some government workers have not been paid their salaries for some time?” wondered Giancarlo who further indicated that the delayed salaries had led to some directors, especially those under NHCC, to embark on unnecessary countrywide tours to avoid tension.
“These directors under the NHCC are amassing a lot of wealth out of travel allowances and we have heard that some senior members of staff are now using unpalatable language against our members, especially those under the South-West Region of NHCC. We have information that workers who have tried to seek dialogue with management at NHCC in Livingstone have been chased away. We want to warn the NHCC management that a hungry man is a angry person and should be dealt with care.”