Zamtel strike appears to be nearing end

13 Nov 2008 reports that Zambia Telecommunication Company (Zamtel) employees in Lusaka, Ndola and Kitwe have begun returning to work after a three-week strike. Zamtel public relations manager Charles Kachikoti said that some workers had reported for work while others were still absent. National Union of Communication Workers (NUCW) general secretary Clement Kasonde confirmed the news. Communication and Transport Minister Dora Siliya had on Monday called on all the workers to resume duties, as the strike was illegal. She said Zamtel had no capacity to increase salaries because it was operating at a loss. Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) acting secretary general Ian Mkandawire said that warnings of sackings issued by the minister did not help in the search for a lasting solution sought by the industrial action. ‘While the ZCTU appreciates the financial difficulties Zamtel is facing, threatening striking workers with dismissals is not the best way of resolving the impasse. Workers in Zamtel have a right to negotiate for improved conditions of service and the delays and failure by management to expeditiously deal with the matter at hand resulted in the strike,’ Mr Mkandawire said.