By Edward Mukaro
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has implored workers to join in the ‘Social Justice Struggle Day’, each Monday of the week, as a build-up to a grand ‘Stay Away’, in protest against what the workers’ body president Peter Mutasa called ‘authoritarianism and neoliberalism’.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with The BusinessConnect, on the sidelines of a peaceful demonstration held by Zimbabwe Banks Allied Workers Union (ZIBAWU) and ZCTU, in Harare, Mutasa encouraged workers from all sectors of the economy to protest by observing the ‘Social Justice Struggle Day’, while also lobbying Government to listen to the workers’ cry for a comfortable remuneration, before rebuking the latter for making poor policies that have worsened the plight of the worker.
“Workers, in line with the call by the ZCTU… must speak up about challenges and issues that they are facing.
“The ZCTU has made three (3) demands, that all workers must earn US dollar salaries and that modern-day slavery should end, and secondly poverty, which is man-made must come to an end. Our poverty is a result of corruption, poor policies, poor governance and general dictatorship,” said Mutasa.
The ZCTU chief is no stranger in as far as courting the ire authorities as he was recently placed on a ‘wanted list’ together with 13 other government critics, which included activists and politicians, mainly from the MDC A youth camp.
Commenting – at the same occasion – on the demonstration by bank employees, ZIBAWU secretary-general Shepherd Ngandu said the economy has since dollarized, hence, its high-time employers in the banking sector did the noble thing and heed the workers’ call.
“Workers in the banking sector want to be paid in the US dollar. If you look at it, the prices of basic commodities in shops are pegged in the SU dollar.
“Government has a policy which says we have US dollar prices and ZWL$ prices. So it is the same demand that bank workers are making. I am sure you will appreciate that teachers right now are on industrial action. They are staying away; they are not coming to work, so to speak.
“It’s every worker, not only in the financial services sector. So it is against this call that the ZCTU is now saying workers lets unite and put pressure on the government to put policies that ensure that workers are paid in US dollars that they were being paid in 2018. The demand is that simple,” quipped Ngandu.
The Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) has for long periods been under pressure from disgruntled workers who seek improved wages and working conditions.
By Edward Mukaro