As I See: Sata’s salary increment immoral and ill-timed

Chanodi NgwiraBy Chanoda Ngwira

As a trade unionist and labour activist, may I state that Mr Sata Michael, our Zambian Republican President has all the rights and entitlement to a salary adjustment upwards, so are all constitutional office bearers.

These people are employed in the public service and having their salaries augmented is normal and legal, they have the rights to enjoy such constitutional rights.

However, the issue of precedence and fatherhood comes in, what Mr Sata and the PF government has done will continue receiving mixed feelings from the general public especially the civil servants and public service workers.

My reason of saying so is simple, this is a period where we have had nurses and other health workers going on work stoppages and go slows due to grievances affecting their take home pay.

For the first time in many years we are witnessing nurses go on strike at the highest referral hospital in Zambia, the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).

Mr Sata and his government know that this is a sad development and this is so detrimental to the provision of health services by the said officers and we expect the President and government to take an appropriate action towards resolving this issue.

Unfortunately, it is politics as usual. Instead of resolving the issues surrounding the health workers who are essential workers due to the kind of work they do of saving lives and providing health care.

Mr Sata and his government have given a deaf ear to this and they have decided to increase their salaries. Some public service workers’ increments have been as little as 4% whereas the politicians increased theirs by 27%. It is immoral and a shame on the part of the PF government to take such a bad and untimely decision.

It only shows and confirms how uncaring and extravagant this government is. It does not make sense to leave your child crying with hunger and you go and have a nice good and balanced meal, have an increment in quantity. I mean what sense is that? What priority is that? Does it make sense? The answer is NO and a very big NO.

Furthermore, the local authorities, the council workers to be specific have been neglected for a long time.

These workers have had extreme high hopes that their plight was heard and would be looked into by the PF government considering the 2011 campaign pledges that the president and his colleagues had made.

Mr Sata received a lot of votes from these workers hoping that they will be saved from the difficulties of no salaries they were subjected to which caused misery to their lives.

Alas; the issue is different, there has been a country wide strike by the local authority workers due to outstanding salaries.

The Minister in charge assured these servants that their cry has been heard and that everything will be sorted out.

Up to now, local government workers are still waiting to be paid whilst Mr Sata and the PF government have increased their salaries three times by more than 150% in a spate of two years. Is this action of precedence or it is merely greed and selfishness? I think it is the later.

Finally, my appeal to the President and the PF government is to seriously consider the cry of the nurses as well as that of council workers as they are enjoy their rights of salary increments.

These workers are public servants that work tirelessly to ensure government policies are implemented and serve the nation with diligence, so they need to enjoy too and accorded the respect they deserve.

Let it be not one sided, we need a balanced situation. It’s the plight of public servants and the public first then politicians last.