The staff, 61 in number, dragged their employer to the Industrial Relations Court (IRC) on December 12 2009 claiming the dues based on Clause 8.3.3 of their Terms of Condition of Service. The clause stipulates that salaries shall be reviewed from time to time based on cost of living, devaluation of the kwacha and salaries paid in the civil service.
The employees on Tuesday said they do not have official representatives to comment on the matter whereas the Ombudsman was said to have gone on the leave government has granted to all public workers. Her mobile phone numbers went unanswered when The Nation tried to contact her.
Government, according to some of the workers, only adjusted their salaries once since 2004 and IRC deputy chairperson Dorothy DeGabriele on June 16 2011 ordered government to act on the matter with urgency and aim to close it within six weeks of the ruling.
But government only wrote to the Office of the Ombudsman on December 20 2011 seeking further details to conduct the review.
The letter, signed by E.E. Yesaya of the Department of Public Service Management under reference number PSM/GOP/07, is responding to communication OMB/CON/80 in which the OmbudsmanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office reports the developments from the court and procedures to be followed.
DeGabriele ruled that only one salary review was conducted in 2009 based on circular HRM/GOP/19/6 which resulted in average increments on January 16 2009 of 20 percent, but the office failed to conduct reviews and communicate to its staff on increments in other government departments.
The deputy IRC chair ordered that the salary review should be carried out and arrears paid for the year 2005 whose 20 percent increment was effected on December 1 2005; another review for 2007 whose average increment was 25 percent effected on July 1 2007 and for the year 2009 of 15 percent whose effect was 1 July 2009.
But the court dismissed claims for housing allowances because there was no supporting documentation.