LUSAKA, Zambia (PANA) - Some civil servants in Zambia Thursday, continued with the strike commenced three days ago to press for a 45-percent salary increment which government refuses to pay.
Majority of government ministries and departments were Thursday manned by few workers and senior management officials as many unionised workers stayed away.
Public service unions have been engaged in a pay dispute with the government over the interpretation of a court order last November which the labour leaders claim awarded them 45 percent pay rise.
Government said it only needed to pay 15 percent on top of the 30-percent rise offered workers in 1995.
But the industrial relations court said it considered the 45-percent salary increment separately and was not aware of the 30-percent earlier offered by government when it made the award last November.
Medical personnel serving under civil service conditions at Lusaka's sprawling University Teaching Hospital have however defied colleagues in other medical institutions who have reportedly joined the countrywide strike.
A hospital spokesman said Thursday that the institution was operating normally.
Health minister Michael Sata said Wednesday on television he received reports that some medical staff had joined the strike in the northern copperbelt towns of Ndola, Luanshya and Mufulira.
Sata said government may be forced to sack striking medical staff whom he said had threatened public health by staying away from work.
The pay package in the Zambian civil service currently averages 60 U.S. dollars per month.
The government recently introduced allowances for medical staff serving with several semi-autonomous hospitals which charge ++economic++ user-fees under the country's health reform programme.
-0- PANA MM/MK/FON 29Feb96
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