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Zambia: New Minimum Wage Pits Employers Against Government

From the reaction of various stakeholders, ranging from the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)  to the Zambia Federation of Employers and ordinary citizens (through spoof letters stating new conditions of service for the domestic servants)  who, before the new policy came into effect, could afford to employ domestic help, the minimum wage effected on 4 July 2012, is arguably one of the most controversial policies of the 10 months old Patriotic Front (PF) government.

Labour Minister, Fackson Shamenda, a former president of the ZCTU, without prior notice in early July 2012, issued a Statutory Instrument stipulating the minimum wage payable to domestic servants, shop workers and other general workers, all at different levels.

A mock up of a locked pot to stop unauthorised people accessing it.

A mock up of a locked pot to stop unauthorised people accessing it. Picture courtesy of BEMBA vs NYANJA: MIPONTO SHA CIMBUYA Facebook page.

Reads the spoof letter in part:

Due to the current economic situation, since the government has insensibly decided to increase the minimum wage for domestic workers to K522, 000, all domestic rules and regulations have been revised as below and under no circumstances is any violation going to be accepted.
1. The kitchen and all pantries are declared restricted zones. Entry and/or passage shall require express permission from me upon submission of written request.
2. Breakfast and lunch is banned. This matter cannot be discussed. You are allowed to come with your own mealie meal, relish and charcoal, you are also welcome to use the brazier […]

Part of the Statutory Instruments states: