MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday met the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to discuss how to deal with the economic crisis bedeviling the country, particularly the plight of workers.
MOSES MATENGA,STAFF REPORTER
The former Prime Minister, who was accompanied by party vice-president Thokozani Khupe, Secretary-general Tendai Biti and organising secretary Nelson Chamisa among others, held a meeting with the ZCTU top five.
The meeting came a day after salary negotiations between government and civil servants’ representatives hit a brick wall after the former offered a $79 hike for the least-paid government worker.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed the meeting saying it was normal for the MDC-T and ZCTU to meet and compare notes given their parental linkages.
“The two parties met and discussed the crisis in the country that started after a stolen (July 31) election. The MDC believes in where it comes from so it’s like the party was meeting with its parentage,” Tamborinyoka said.
“The salary issue came up for discussion and the general plight of workers, especially government workers was discussed. Workers are not happy with the situation on the ground and if workers are not happy, the MDC and the ZCTU are also not happy.”
Tamborinyoka could, however, not divulge the strategy by the two on how to deal with the crisis at hand.
“If we get in such a crisis, the ZCTU meets with the MDC and one of the major issues discussed was the plight of the worker,” Tamborinyoka said.
Tsvangirai also discussed the plight of civil servants, who will today meet Public Service minister Nicholas Goche to finalise their salary negotiations after several failed attempts.
ZCTU acting secretary-general Gideon Shoko confirmed the meeting, but said it was the MDC-T leadership that wanted to brief the labour union on the outcome of the July 31 election and the plight of workers did not come up for discussion.
“They invited us to brief us on the outcome of the election and the way forward,” Shoko said.
“We were told the elections were rigged and that the way forward was for the MDC-T to participate in Parliament and other institutions where it has representatives. They said they will go back to the people and tell them what happened.”
Earlier, the MDC-T shadow cabinet met in Harare warning government to take the welfare of workers seriously as failure to do so would lead to labour unrest.
MDC-T shadow media minister Nelson Chamisa, who also accompanied Tsvangirai to the ZCTU meeting, said: “It was acknowledged that there was a crisis of leadership and at the centre of that leadership crisis was the failure to arrest the economic quagmire. We have everything in the country, but nothing to show for it.”
He added: “The issue of civil servants was one of the topical issues and we noted that the Zanu PF government was giving the government workers a raw deal. There can never be peace in a country with no industrial peace.
“The Chisumbanje people, like those from Chiadzwa, are getting a raw deal and on our war veterans, any country that is not able to look after its war veterans is dangerous and unstable. War veterans are the backbone of the stability of any nation as they are the founding fathers of the liberation struggle.”
But Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa scoffed at the development and described the indaba as a non-event.
“The whole world now knows that they (MDC-T) are a spent force, no-one can take them seriously anymore.
Even their British friends no longer take them seriously. I don’t know why they are wasting their energy holding such meetings because they are of no consequence. But you can’t stop them because it’s their democratic right. To us whatever they resolve to do is of no effect and consequence,” Mutasa said.
The ZCTU last Thursday warned that the government’s proposed move to introduce labour market flexibility and productivity-linked wages could trigger labour unrest in the country.
Shoko petitioned Public Service minister Nicholas Goche demanding that he convinces Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa to drop the proposal which was announced in the 2014 National Budget statement last month.