Striking workers want diamonds

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Civil servants have upped the ante in their demands for better living conditions this time targeting diamonds at the Reserve Bank.

The more than 2 000 representatives of the government workers who took to the streets on Friday unanimously agreed, through a petition addressed to both the executive and legislature, for the government to surrender the diamonds.

The striking workers, who were gathered at Harare Gardens, walked to government offices and Parliament in the city and dispatched the petition to Acting Clerk of Parliament Antony Malunga, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service Constance Chigwamba and an official at the Ministry of Finance.

“Noting that Zimbabwe is a land with abundant mineral endowment and other natural wealth but not exploited for the benefit of the entire populace, we hereby petition the executive and the legislature to respond to the raised concerns,” read the petition.

Leader of the Apex council an umbrella body for all civil service groups Tendai Chikowore said they had decided to take their concerns to the doorsteps of government offices and ensure that no worker was intimidated.

“We have taken the struggle to the next level and adopted the strategy that resists intimidation and threats. We have taken the fight to the workplace,” she said.

Takavafira Zhou leader of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said that government should remunerate civil with proceeds from diamonds and urged the bickering by politicians over the precious mineral to end.

“If it means government has no money, how come we hear of ‘ngoda’ (diamonds) that are stashed up at the Reserve Bank, and we are wondering why we are not also benefitting from them?”

Zhou took a swipe at civil servants who had received bribes in the form of incentives to create and divide the striking workforce.

“My message is we are coming to the workplace to see who is intimidating our fellow colleagues and take action. We regard these people as enemies of the struggle,” Zhou said.

Zhou could however not be drawn into explaining the nature of action to be taken.