Govt commits to support cotton sub-sector with strategies to ensure well-being of employees


Government says it is ready to support the cotton sub-sector to promote policies, strategies and regulations that safeguard decent work as well as secure the workers rights.

Labour and Social Security Permanent Secretary, Zechariah Luhanga, made this commitment on Tuesday in Lusaka at a dialogue under the theme; “Weaving threads: sustainability advancing decent work in the Zambian Cotton Sector.”

Luhanga canvassed the importance of employees and farmers in the sector to be provided with personal protective equipment and occupational health services.

He said decent work for the cotton sub-sector meant a fair living wage to all persons, whether employed formally or informally, access to social security coverage for employees and farmers and freedom to form trade unions for workers, among others.

“Does the current state of the cotton sub-sector adhere to principles of decent work? This a point of reflection for all. In addition, government is promoting the extension of social security coverage to informal sectors, including agriculture.

Read more: Zambia’s cotton production drops 90% in 10 years

“The cotton sub-sector can serve as a vehicle to help farmers acquire social security coverage. We are dedicated to ensuring that the Zambian Cotton Sector not only thrives economically but does so on the foundation of fairness, equality, and respect for the dignity of every worker,” Luhanga said.

Speaking earlier, Cotton Board of Zambia (CBZ) Board Chairperson, Raymond Mpundu, made a dedication towards the betterment and sustainable advancement of the cotton industry.

Mpundu said decent work meant providing every worker in the cotton sector with fair conditions of employment, a voice in their workplace, and freedom from exploitation.

“In this journey towards sustainability and growth, the principle of ‘decent work’ stands as a beacon guiding our path forward. Decent work encapsulates more than just employment; it embodies the aspirations for equity, dignity, and respect in the workplace.

“This involves not only adhering to national labour laws but also embracing international labour standards that protect and empower workers. It is about ensuring that every individual involved in the cotton value chain, from the small-scale farmer to the factory worker, has access to opportunities for productive work under conditions of freedom, equity, security, and human dignity,” he said.

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