Zanu PF wary of unions

BY BLESSED MHLANGA

ZANU PF is wary of labour unions and is accusing them of attempting to use workers to oust President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government under the guise of fighting for better working conditions.

In its report to Zanu PF’s 18th people’s conference held last month, the central committee questioned why unions and workers demanding better pay were only focusing on pushing government and leaving out the private sector.

“Why are trade unions not agitating for fair salaries and wages in the private sector? Why is the agitation restricted to the public sector? Why is any agitation against the rise in the cost of living restricted to government without demanding fair wages from business,” the report reads.

Zanu PF said it suspected that unions were harbouring political interests, an allegation constantly repeated by even Mnangagwa, especially following a four-month job action by goverment doctors.

“Are the trade unions pursuing a political objective by leaving the interests of labour at the mercy of capital? If so, for what political objective,” the report further reads in part.

Zanu PF, however, acknowledged that all was not well as business was hurting the poor by not paying fair wages and stripping workers of their dignity.

“The casualisation of labour continues to afflict the sector as business tries ways of managing operational costs.
This has tended to create a state of job insecurity in the industrial sector leading to inefficiencies. Unfair labour practices have continued to pervade the industrial employment sector,” the report further reads.

But the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has hit back, accusing the Zanu PF government of being the major cause of labour unrest in the counrty.

“They don’t respect the Constitution. Instead of investing in making the Tripartite Negotiation Forum (TNF) work, which is recognised at law, they are putting money in Polad [Political Actors Dialogue]. The TNF is not working and workers are left with no option, but to use peaceful and constitutional means to demand a living wage,” ZCTU president Peter Mutasa said.

The labour union has blamed government for causing the economic turmoil through the return of the Zimdollar, pushing austerity measures and clamping down on labour unions’ rights to demonstrate for fair wages.

Mutasa said workers were not pursuing any political agenda, but wanted fair pay for their labour.

“Our members come from different political persuasions. The individual members have their own political rights and we do not tamper with those, but as an organisation, we represent everyone regardless,” he said.

Workers have vowed to face off with government until they get a living wage which matches current economic trends.

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