LUSAKA, Zambia (PANA) - Different interpretations between the Zambian government and the country's civil servants union over a pay increase could lead to a major strike by the workers soon.
The Civil Servants Union of Zambia has threatened to go on strike to force President Frederick Chiluba's government to raise salaries by 45 percent as was ruled by the country's Industrial Court last year.
The government accorded only a 15 percent pay rise, in addition to another 30 percent it had unilaterally awarded in Nov. 1995.
The Zambia News Agency reported Monday the threat to strike was made by 12 Lusaka-based CSUZ branches.
The union's branches urged their colleagues countrywide to register as voters in the current voters' registration excercise.
Zambians are currently registering for the second multiparty general elections, whose date has not yet been announced.
"Our members should en masse register because it is the only remaining means for them to kick out the uncaring MMD (Movemement for Multiparty Democracy) government," they said.
The meeting, chaired by CSUZ General Secretary, Japhet Moonde, earlier urged the public workers to be ready to go on strike to back up their demands.
Moonde said the strike action was likely to take place because government had failed to respond to to a letter the union wrote on Feb.9, 1996, to express it grievances.
The government and the union differ on the interpretation of the courts' order.
Industrial Relations Court Vice-Chairman, Florence Lengalenga, said the 45 percent salary increment she ordered in November did not include the 30 percent the government had earlier unilaterally imposed.
The government, however, interpets that the 45 percent should exclude the 30 percent it offered last year.
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