Role of Trade Unions in promoting Competition in Zambia

The enactment of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act, 2010 to replace the Competition and Fair Trading Act of 1994, has been a positive development in the history of competition and consumer protection in Zambia, given the diverse shortcomings in the latter, most of which have been addressed under the Act. Although the Act is fairly comprehensive as far as covering the essential issues on competition and consumer protection is concerned, it is its effective implementation that matters in meeting various expectations and challenges faced by stakeholders.

For the new Act to be effectively enforced there is need for all key stakeholders in competition enforcement to complement the efforts of Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) by also effectively playing their part in their respective constituencies. However this can only happen if each stakeholder fully comprehends their role and how their actions interface with those of CCPC.

Arising from this background, Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) in collaboration with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) conducted a workshop in March 2011 on the Role of Stakeholders in the effective implementation of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act.

Among the key stakeholders with a role to play in the enforcement of competition are trade unions. The importance of trade unions in competition enforcement is critical as the implementation of the labour policy plays a role in determining the level of competition prevailing in the economy. However, little attention has been devoted across the world towards ensuring that trade unions and labour are part of the competition enforcement process. There was thus an observed need for trade unions in Zambia to be fully aware of their part in the implementation process of competition and consumer protection laws.

It is for this reason that CUTS in collaboration with FES conducted a training workshop for trade unions on their role in promoting competition in Zambia. The workshop was held in the Copperbelt province at Hotel Edinburg, Kitwe on 13th February 2012.