THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has mobilised its members to embark on lunch-hour protests starting Monday to push for United States dollar-based salaries in light of the free-falling economy and a battered local currency.
BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE
ZCTU president Peter Mutasa told NewsDay yesterday that workers across the country would start lunch-hour protests across the country from August 31 until their issues are addressed.
Mutasa said talks between workers representatives and the government had failed to yield positive results after they declared a deadlock in February this year.
“We, therefore, have asked our affiliates to organise different forms of protests that are workplace-based or local area-based,” Mutasa said.
“Workers across the country are supposed to protest during lunch hour, start of day or end of day closer to their workplaces. This should be done every Monday until the date of the general strike. Workers will be addressed by trade union leaders and workers committees.”The ZCTU stance comes as the global trade union movement has announced plans to organise
a “global day of action” to be held across the world on September 23 in solidarity with workers in Zimbabwe.“We are mobilising for a general strike. The global trade union movement is also organising a global day of action in solidarity with the workers and people of Zimbabwe,” Mutasa said.
Workers are pushing for US$-denominated salaries as inflation continues to erode earnings paid in local currency.
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“We are using these protests to build workers’ consciousness to the issues affecting workers and communities. Workers are facing a serious transport crisis that is endangering their lives during this COVID-19 pandemic,” Mutasa said.
“So every Monday from 31 August 2020, various trade union activities should be held around the country. As work is also a social construct, trade union leaders and workers are also expected to address communities during these Monday protests about the challenges workers and pensioners are facing. These include deepening poverty, endemic corruption, exploitative working conditions and the socio-economic crisis in general.”
He added: “We call upon those who support the cause of the working class to support us as provided for in the Labour Act. We are also protesting against exploitative working conditions, deepening poverty, economic and social crisis and endemic corruption.”
The ZCTU action also comes as health workers including nurses and doctors have downed tools in protest over poor working conditions and incapacitation.
Apex Council spokesperson David Dzatsunga yesterday said they had not yet been approached by the ZCTU on the planned job action.
“The Apex Council has not been officially communicated to with regards to the ZCTU planned action and cannot, therefore, espouse a position. Right now we are actually waiting to continue our round of negotiations with the government and it is only the outcome of those talks that will determine what course of action we will take contingent on the advice of our membership,” he said.
But the Apex Council, an umbrella body for civil servants unions, recently accused government of being insincere in the negotiations. Labour minister Paul Mavima could not be reached for comment last night.