INFORMATION and Broadcasting Services Minister Chishimba Kambwili has said a provision will be made available in the 2016 National Budget for public service workers’ salary increment if negotiations go beyond December, this year.
Mr Kambwili said yesterday that December 2015 was just a deadline and that negotiations between Government and public service unions could even be completed before the deadline expired.
“President Lungu indicated that the negotiations should be completed by December, meaning they can be completed before that and incorporated in the 2016 National Budget,” Mr Kambwili said.
Mr Kambwili was reacting to fears by some sections of society who expressed concern that the December deadline for salary negotiation for public service workers was too far to accommodate increments as the 2016 National Budget was normally passed in October.
During this year’s Labour Day commemoration, President Edgar Lungu directed Secretary to the Cabinet, Roland Msiska to open up negotiations with public service unions for improved conditions of service.
The President indicated that the negotiations should be completed by December this year to allow for new salaries to be effected.
However, some sections of society have indicated that the December deadline would disadvantage civil servants because the 2016 National Budget would have been passed and this might lead them to having their increment in 2017.
He said if the negotiations would be completed after the 2016 National Budget had been prepared, a supplementary budget would be provided for.
Mr Kambwili said a budget was just a framework, which would have in consideration the salary increment for civil servants.
“If the amount goes beyond the projected provision, a supplementary budget would be passed to cater for the agreed salary increment for civil servants for 2016,” he said.
Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general Cosmas Mukuka said the union would wait and see what would be laid on the table by Government and comment later.
“We will wait and see what Government will lay on the table and until then, we shall not make a comment as we might pre-empty our negotiations,” Mr Mukuka said.
He, however, noted that the unions anticipated that the salaries would be backdated to last year, when the previous conditions of service for workers expired.
He said the conditions of service for public service workers came to an end last year and currently there was no agreement between Government and the workers.
In 2014, Government announced a two-year employment and wage freeze which President Lungu has since lifted and directed the Secretary to the Cabinet to reopen negotiations and conclude by December.