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'No dialogue without workers unions'

22 Jan 2019 at 17:57hrs | Views
"Let us embark on a process of national dialogue. I invite the heads of all our nation's political parties, as well as religious and civil leaders, to set aside our differences and come together to show our nation that what unites us is stronger than what could ever divide us."

This statement by the President of Zimbabwe is fine. Even before the overthrow of Mugabe in November 2017, the Zimbabwe Communist Party was calling for a National Economic Dialogue, and we do not retract our position because it has now been articulated by a person who is both First Secretary of ZANU(PF) and President of Zimbabwe.

BUT we see in this statement "…political parties …religious and civil leaders." Nowhere do we see a mention of the working-class or the trade unions. In fact, the leaders of our trade unions are either under arrest or in hiding.  

The recent destructive protest came after President Mnangagwa had announced fuel price hikes without any consultation other than with the wealthy clique of ZANU(PF) leaders. Much of the violence that occurred, in particular looting of shops, came from people without enough to eat. Despite the calls by the ZCTU leadership for a peaceful protest, there was an explosion of anger from people who are already finding basic survival difficult.

Communists in Zimbabwe have been pointing out that Zimbabwean workers do not go on strike for more money, but simply to be paid. There is now an entrenched culture by management both in the public and private sector to pay workers on the 45th of the month ― or not at all! Meanwhile management, even at local government level have been keen to award themselves huge pay increases.

The ZANU(PF) leadership have been establishing themselves as a new feudal nobility. They have written-off the urban working-class as being supporters of the opposition while in the rural areas they build mansions among the mud huts from which they dispense patronage to those peasants who are willing to grovel before them.

We cannot rebuild the economy with this kind of mindset.

It is a basic tenet of the capitalist system that in order to keep the workers producing wealth through the products of their labour, it is necessary to buy their labour power at a rate sufficient to maintain themselves and their families. Our "indigenous entrepreneurs" do not know this.

Without going even one step forwards towards socialism, how can a capitalist expect a worker to produce efficiently if he constantly has to think of various schemes to earn enough income for survival?

The slogan coming from the mouth of Minister of Finance Mthuli Ncube, "Austerity for Prosperity" is laughable. Exactly who is supposed to suffer the austerity?

We note, of course that the salaries of the President and his ministers have been decreased by 5%.

5%? When his entire cabinet is not reliant on their government salaries.

5%. Where their perks can come to more than their official salaries.

5%. When Emmerson Mnangagwa and his two vice-presidents are already wealthy men.

5%. When through the Bond note and inflation all those employed by government have had wage cuts of around 67%.

The Zimbabwe Communist Party has long been ready and willing for engagement on the rebuilding of the economy. In fact, we were the first to call for a National Economic Dialogue. But we want real dialogue ― not simply to sit and listen to a government monologue. That can only begin when the government releases without charge the leaders of the trade unions, the basic organisations of the working-class and when conditions are made safe for other leaders to come out of hiding.

Free Obert Masaraure !!
Free Robson Chere !!
Free all trade union leaders !!
Free all political prisoners !!
No dialogue without the workers !!
Ngqabutho Mabhena is the General Secretary of the Zimbabwe Communist Party

Source - ZCP
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