|October 7, 2003
Zambian government urged to intervene in labour-dispute
Government has been implored to intervene in the labour stand-off between Zambia Sugar and its workers following failure by management to pay gratuity to over 400 employees. Mazabuka MP Griffith Nang'omba revealed during the week that the situation at Nakambala Estates, the country's foremost sugar factory, was quickly degenerating into an industrial crisis requiring urgent intervention. He said even after a meeting attended by himself, the labour minister, union and management officials at which the company committed itself to clear the outstanding arrears, it had remained adamant over the matter.
Zambia Sugar recently changed hands from the holding company Booker Tate to Ilover of South Africa and by statutory requirement, workers have the option to be paid their gratuity before continuing under new management. But management is insisting that despite agreeing with the union, all the money due to the workers would be channelled into a retirement scheme and would only be paid out on retirement or retrenchment, a move which has angered employees. (The Times of Zambia, Ndola)