Workers threaten national shutdown

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has demanded that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government decisively tackle the country’s economic challenges or risk workers going on an indefinite strike saying thousands of employees were on the verge of losing their jobs as companies shut down while earnings have been severely eroded.

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

ZCTU president Peter Mutasa, in an exclusive interview told NewsDay that the 2019 outlook was that of a tough period and there were indications that many companies may fail to reopen in the new year.

“The country is coming to a total shutdown. We are not pessimistic, but we saw this in 2008 and all the signs are heading towards a second 2008. Unfortunately, in this period, we don’t think that we have leadership. The State is not well coordinated, so we are facing a very serious crisis,” Mutasa said.

ZCTU said only a united labour force and citizens had the power to stop the economic rot, by confronting the Mnangagwa regime for answers.

“We think citizens are going to rise to the occasion. For the workers, the ZCTU has given its leadership a mandate that we must co-ordinate all workers and unions, even those that are not within our federations. We want to unite all unions; unite the poor, the farmers, the students — all the progressive forces and wage
a struggle to force the government to the negotiating table,” Mutasa said.

The workers, who have faced brutal attacks from the police every time they have tried to go on the streets, said they were unmoved and would down tools.

“This January, workers should just down tools. We should just stop working until there are economic reforms. You have seen what has happened with the doctors; we are going to see teachers doing the same, civil servants — we will be calling on all workers to stop working and demand economic reforms. So it’s going to be a very sensitive January,” Mutasa said.

Salaries for workers remain bench-marked at United States dollar values but they get paid in bond notes and electronic transfers, which have lost 67% of their value in the last quarter despite government insistence that its surrogate currency at par with the greenback.

Prices in bond notes have, however, been adjusted to reflect the discrepancies between government policy and reality on the ground.

Already, ZCTU has started telling its members in the mining, cotton and tobacco industry not to accept payment in real time gross settlement and instead only accept US$.
Economist Joseph Kanyenze said 2019 could be a lost year if Zimbabwe’s main political parties fail to talk to each other, and have a social contract to deal with the current crisis.

“Even if people are not mobilised you could see social unrest. Workers can down tools, yes, because of the loss of value in their salaries, but that will not be a solution, dialogue for a social contract will bring us out of this crisis,” he said.

Kanyenze said re-engagement with the international community, which Mnangagwa has prioritised to end the country’s decades of isolation under former President Robert Mugabe, would not immediately happen or bring results without fundamentals being addressed.

“We have been doing the wrong things for a long time so we are not going to come from gloom to glory overnight. Remember, re-engagement will only happen after we settle our obligations and reforms. And we are also facing a drought that will make things worse,” he said.

Kanyenze said Zanu PF and MDC needed to talk with each other and also heal fissures in their respective parties.

“Unfortunately, the current government is a continuation of the past; we are not seeing anything meaningful in terms of reforms,” he said.

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa told NewsDay yesterday that the Zimbabwe crisis could only be solved through political dialogue.

“Next year, the social fabric looks to be taking a big beating. Economic stability can only be built on political stability and legitimacy, and of course political stability. It rests on economic viability. At the moment, the problem is that there is no confidence in the economy, in the market, in the country,” Chamisa said.

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16 Comments

  1. this zctu man is out of touch with workers

  2. Which workers do you represent who are going to down what tools? More than 90% of zimbabwe survive by engaging in informal economic activities and are you going to encourage them to down their tools? I also wonder how many of those in the public sector will listen to you since they would be risking their jobs all together. If they listen to these unions, the government can simply fire them and recruit new workers. Political parties who are serious about reviving our economy will denounce illegal sanctions first and foremost and avoid supporting the kind of actions that violate international law. Zimbabwe can only have lawfull obligations to regional and internal bodies like the african union and The United Nations and not America. America has no legal basis of dictating policy to Zimbabwe under international law. Zimbabwe has had no problems whith Sadc, African Union and the United Nations and I wonder what lawful obigations Zimbabwe has yet to fulfil.

    1. U are silly to think that firing people is the solution. Watch the space, werz is goblin now?

  3. And just how exactly will smuggling in a losing presidential candidate fix the economy?

    What solutions has he demonstrated to the people that he has, stopping throwing spanners into to the works? –

  4. Doctors’s strike has entered its 28th day today and more senior Doctors and senior medical personnel have joined their collegeas, teachers have threatened to do so when schools open these are all workers and the ZCTU is only cementing something that is already being rolled out.

  5. ZCTU which workers doyou represent. You are just an extension of MDC

  6. ZCTU should stop inciting workers into industrial actions and downing tools which does not benefit anyone. Ana Mutasa should bear in mind that Zim needs to be productive and produce so as to be sustainable. Rebuilding Zim is a ollective effort that needs everyone’s input including such unions supporting GVt.

  7. Imbwa iyi Mnangagwa tinofanirwa kuibvisa neimwe yacho Chiwenga vaurayi.after that we have to come with revenge just to kill them

  8. Kuwiriranakwakanakakugarakunzwanana Garanewkomurudohamandishe

    Comment…Vanhu vachakwanisa kuenderera mberi nekuenda kubasa vanenge vachiba. $250-$500 hayichakwani comb mwedzi wese. Vashandi vachimo munyika. Vemuzvitoro, utano, Hurumende, hotera etc. Ngatirege kudzokera ku2003-
    2009 September.

  9. There are many European leaders whom we must hire to run Zim. Blacks, have totally failed to govern Zim. THERE IS NOTHING MEANINGFUL A BLACK LEADER CAN DO EXCEPT TO LIE, LOOT, MURDER AND BEING LAZY.

    LETS NOT BLAME SANCTIONS. RHODESIA UNDER SMITH, WAS UNDER SANCTIONS BUT THE ECONOMY WAS BOOMING.

    MH@TA DZE ZANU DZIKARAMBA DZICHITONGA, HAPANA CHINOBUDA.

    1. I don’t blame you. We know who was to blame 40 years ago.

      I still ask – what was wrong with the Bishop, anyway?

  10. CHOZIKANWA HAPANA BASA ROKUNGO PFEKA ZVIMA SCARF.

  11. ED should seriously consider the appointment of The Finance Minister, Mthuli Ncube. This is one misplaced post the president did. This guy gona make ZANU(PF) a failed party. I have warned ED several times. The policies this guy is putting, are likely to be a total failure.

  12. I blame it all on Lord Soames, Carrington, Thatcher, the Snakes at Lancaster House, Peter Walls (Duped, not a malicious man), Jimmy Carter, Andrew Young, the Scandinavian Countries, World Council of Churches, Catholic Church, etc.

    Get my drift?

  13. What was wrong with the Bishop, anyway?

  14. I don’t blame any of the Zim people. But what was wrong with the Bishop, anyway?

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