By PETER SICHALI
DEMANDS by Resident Doctors Association of Zambia (RDAZ) are unrealistic and ill timed, Inter Africa Governance Network (AFRINET) Executive Director Maurice Malambo has said.
He said the RDAZ was being used by the opposition to sabotage the country’s health delivery system, the reason why they were demanding dues during campaign time.
Mr Malambo said it was absurd for junior doctors to demand for deployment of 500 doctors and payment of salary arrears and allowances within a short period.
He said in as much as the demands were in line with the doctors’ conditions of service, the demands were unrealistic.
Mr Malambo said the withdrawal of labour without exhausting the due process of negotiating was premature, unilateral and an outright illegality.
He said to the intended action was in breach of provisions under the Labour and Industrial Relations Act Chapter 269 , which prohibits engaging in negotiations under duress.
He said it was unfortunate that the opposition could go to an extent of instigating doctors to sabotage the health sector in an effort to win the forthcoming general elections.
Mr Malambo said the withdrawal of labour while negotiations are underway whilst engaged puts the negotiations in jeopardy as the employer retains under the labour law the right to withdraw from such negotiations
“As such, no party to the negotiations must be put under duress or undue pressure,” Mr Malambo said.
Mr Malambo advised individual members of the RDAZ to disassociate themselves from the unlawful conduct as it was being instigated at the time when the Covid-19 cases were on the increase.
He said they would not be surprised if Government would withdraw from the negotiations as the labour law provides for such protection to any one party.