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Committee proposes 3 days of strike annually

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Nancy Tembo

The Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament Monday presented recommendations on three bills that underwent scrutiny for the past two days.

The reports included the contested Labour Relations Amendment Bill, in which the committee has proposed three days of striking annually before the employer deducts wages from any employer on strike.

Chairperson of the committee Peter Dimba said there was a need to strike a balance between rights of the employee as well as the need for the economy to progress.

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“What we did was to reach a compromise and respect the rights of the employee. So, we said employees have a right to go on a strike but to a maximum of three days per year,” he said.

But Democratic Progressive Party spokesperson on the matter Werani Chilenga called for redrafting of the bill, stressing that it would infringe on workers’ rights to express their grievances freely.

Apart from presentation of the bills, Natural Resources Minister Nancy Tembo bemoaned unsustainable practices which have resulted in the loss of 32,000 hectares of forest cover every year.

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She, however, said efforts were being made to protect trees from further deforestation and degradation.

“Enhanced penalties are being applied to lawbreakers and, as an example, 10 vehicles that were trafficking forest products illegally have been forfeited to the government,” she said.

Natural Resources Committee Chairperson Werani Chilenga accused the ministry of lacking transparency on how $50 million under the Shire River Basin Project was used, alleging that the funds were used for tree planting only.

But Tembo dismissed the allegation, saying the money was used for several activities.

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