In the wake of growing dissent arising from frustrations by the majority of Patriotic Front supporters, government has revised the minimum wage for low-income earners in an attempt to revive waning hopes among loyalists.
President Michael Sata’s Patriotic Front campaigned to bring “more money” in the pockets of majority Zambians but there has been growing dissent from its supporters who have not experienced the benefit of the change.
Call boys and marketeers in Kitwe, majority of whom supported the PF, this week demonstrated over government’s decision to move them to another location and flashed opposition MMD political symbol.
The incident seemed to have jerked the Patriotic Front government who have also had to deal with frustrations from students at both the University of Zambia and Evelyn Hone College in Lusaka.
To extend their deceptive “more money” campaign, the PF government has increased the minimum wage for shopkeepers and domestic workers to a monthly salary of K1.1 million and K522, 000 respectively.
Labor and Social Securities Minister Fackson Shamenda said at a media briefing in Lusaka this morning that the development was in fulfillment of the Patriotic Front government’s promises of putting “more money” in people’s pockets.
The revision implies that wages for various categories have been revised upwards with domestic workers’ wages increased from K250 000 to K522, 400 with transport allowance inclusive.
Shop workers’ revised minimum wage is pegged at K1, 132, 400 with transport, lunch and housing allowances inclusive and that the wages will increase according to the grades of employees while the minimum wage of the highest grade in this category will be getting K2, 372, 519.
In the general workers’ category which includes receptionist and clerks among others, the minimum wage for category one workers is K1, 132, 400 while that of category five has been pegged at K2, 101, 039.
Mr. Shamenda said under this order, the lowest paid worker will be getting K1, 132,400.
He has since signed and issued statutory instruments No. 45 of 2012 for domestic workers, 46 of 2012 for general workers and 47 of 2012 for shop workers to effect these changes.
Shamenda said the changes are with effect from July 4th 2012 when the instruments were gazetted.
The minister said the statutory instruments cover vulnerable groups of employees who are not represented by unions.
Mr. Shamenda has further warned compliance to the amended statutory instruments is not optional and that defaulting companies risk facing the wrath of the law if found wanting.
He says the ministry will therefore intensify countrywide labor inspections to ensure total compliance.
The development will potentially add pressure on middle income earners to press for pay rise and meet their overlays.