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Weak ZCTU plots rolling protests

by Staff reporter
20 Jun 2020 at 08:34hrs | Views
WORKERS' umbrella body, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) yesterday compounded President Emmerson Mnangagwa's woes by threatening countrywide protests against his government's failure to ensure a decent living wage for the suffering workers.

The announcement came when government was battling to contain a strike by health workers, especially doctors and nurses in public hospitals, threatening to bring the health sector to a halt at a time the country is faced with ravaging COVID-19 crisis.

Addressing a Press conference in Harare yesterday, ZCTU president Peter Mutasa called on Zimbabweans, civic organisations and workers from all sectors to confront Mnangagwa for failing to address the bread and butter issues at a time top government officials were living lavishly in the seas of ill-gotten wealth.

"Zimbabweans are dying silently during this lockdown period due to hunger and starvation," Mutasa said.

"The $200 per household promised by the government during this lockdown has not reached them despite it being too little."

Government is under pressure from its restive workers after they rejected a 50% salary hike and US$75 COVID-19 allowance. Nurses have already downed tools, protesting against what they described as an insignificant salary hike.

Government has roped in the police to block nurses from protesting. The last ZCTU protest over fuel price increases in January last year ended in 17 deaths at the hands of the military deployed to quell the demonstrations.

But Mutasa said workers' patience had been stretched beyond limit and another round of protests was looming.

"No one will fight, but ourselves. As workers, it's our belief that we have a constitutional right to go and fill the streets and I am inviting all Zimbabweans to this worthy struggle. It will be tough, but be assured victory is certain if we are united and determined."

The ZCTU revealed that during Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) meetings, government had committed to dump the local currency by June if it failed to arrest the volatility of the local currency.

"During the TNF meeting, the government pleaded with social partners to give it six months to put the economy back on track," Mutasa said.

"Government claimed it would be able to stabilise the currency in six months and literally refused to adopt the US dollars and rands in the name of sovereignty. But you can see where this has taken us to."

Government on Wednesday announced a US$75 monthly allowance for civil servants, a subtle admission that the local currency had failed.

Mutasa said government officers serving under Mnangagwa should resign in shame over failure, while others hand themselves over to the police to answer for corruption.

He said ZCTU would not notify government or police of its intended protests, but will just take to the streets to face the regime, with or without clearance.

Source - newsday