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ZCTU members call for action

by Staff reporter
08 Mar 2020 at 13:15hrs | Views
RESTIVE members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) have told the labour body's leadership to organise a mass stay-away to force the government to address the current economic crisis.

This emerged during a recent consultative meeting held in Harare, one of many by the labour body to chart the way forward in the wake of the failure by the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) — a platform which brings labour, business and government together —to resolve serious differences over wages and salaries.

The workers told the ZCTU representatives, led by the labour body's president Peter Mutasa, that they were tired of all talk and no action.

"What we are seeing is that there is no political will from the government to resolve the current economic hardships we are facing as workers. These challenges started when the government introduced Statutory Instrument (SI) 142 (that outlawed the use of multi-currency and reintroduced the Zimbabwean dollar) which immediately resulted in workers losing their purchasing power.

"We appreciate the ZCTU leadership for engaging in discussion with the government and business through the TNF, but all talk and no action will not solve our problems as workers.

"What we are calling for is another massive stay away, bigger than the January 2019 stay away to shake up the government and trigger the appropriate action from this country's leadership which has failed the worker," a member of the ZCTU who identified himself as Kumbirai Moyo said.

The TNF meeting on salaries and wages held early last month reached a deadlock, with the government and labour on one side agreeing that there should be a blanket minimum wage while the business pushed for a sectoral approach to the minimum wage.

Another worker Leo Mukanhenge said workers should team up with other stakeholders in the mooted stay way.

"What we need now is action. This kind of action should not be the usual where we act alone but should include like-minded people who share the same struggle that we have like those in the informal sector and those fighting for human rights and justice," Mukanhenge said.

Representing women, ZCTU member Sharayi Mutema said the current economic crisis is exposing women to abuse at the hands of water barons and other unscrupulous individuals seeking to take advantage of the transport crisis.

"As women we are saying that we are tired of this situation and we are demanding action. We are encountering all sorts of challenges at work but our struggle is not ending there. After work we struggle to get transport to return home and take care of the family.

"When we get home we are confronted by yet another challenge- lack of water-and we have to spend hours at long borehole queues just to get water for household use. Therefore we are saying as women enough is enough let us take it to the streets," Mutema said.

Mutasa acknowledged the concerns raised by workers and indicated that the ZCTU leadership would deliberate on the issues raised and announce a way forward soon.

In January 2019, the ZCTU called for a three-day stay away triggered by fuel price increase. The stay away set in motion a protest which government responded to by sending armed forces who cracked down on the protesters resulting in the deaths of 17 civilians and the injury of many others.

"This struggle is not only for those who are employed, but for everyone in Zimbabwe including the unemployed, informal sector and the civil society. The state has failed and this is evidenced by lack of electricity and water, importation of grain, abductions and torture of those who speak out.

"Today as ZCTU leadership we have heard your call for action. Indeed this is the time to act because if we don't act as the workers the government will not act for us and neither will business," Mutasa said.

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Source - dailynews