Monday, March 27, 2023

ZCTU threatens action over poor wages

Tinaani Nyabereka

Gweru-Workers through their representative body, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) have taken a bold step towards action over poor wages.
The decision was announced by ZCTU Acting Secretary General Kudakwashe Munengiwa during a presser last week in Gweru while highlighting that the harassment of vendors which took place recently is greatly condemned as innocent people are being victimized at the hands of police.
“As labour, we have given government room to improve our conditions but nothing is coming out. We are considering other measures which can be heard in the corridors of powers.
“We strongly stand to denounce acts of harassment on vendors which took place last week in Bulawayo. We understand vendors are people who want to earn a living just like any other person. We also denounce that same act here at home (Gweru). We recently engaged authorities in Gweru and we want our vendors to conduct their business without fear.
“So we are saying our issue is not dwelling much on vendors but rather we are looking on the welfare of workers, as workers we are struggling. We demand decent wages to sustain our lives.
“It is clear that as the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union we are a workers body and we represent all workers, informal and formal ones. So we are saying as we are nonpartisan, we need to clearly get the position of who gets what, where and when. We feel some decisions being made by government are negatively impacting innocent people and depriving them their rights as workers,” he added.
Munengiwa said in 2022 there was an agreement between government and workers that government was going to review workers’ wages.
“We once engaged with the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Paul Mavima to say let’s dollarize for the workers to be able to survive.
“We were then promised during Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) that government was going to have a review in the first quarter of 2022 to review the salaries of workers but up to date nothing has been done, workers are struggling to make ends meet to survive, hyperinflation continues to erode the value of our currency day and night. We need a stable currency to drive the economy.
“We are saying the RBZ Governor, Dr Mangudya should resign just as he promised because his monetary policies have failed. In 2019 ZW$ rate to US$ was 1:1 but now it is at US$ 1: ZW$ 1 500. we are in need of one monetary system , if we are moving to adopt foreign currency in totality let go that way ,if not let’s make sure our rate is stable and conducive for business.” he added
Munengiwa further said as enshrined in Section 65 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, workers were supposed to get fair and reasonable wages.
“Section 65 (1) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe provides as follows:
“Every person has the right to fair and safe labour practices, standards and to be paid a fair and reasonable wage. If these are not honoured, we have a right to go for an industrial action or withdraw our services,” added Munengiwa.
With inflation reportedly at 229.8 percent in January 2023 and the highest in the world, Zimbabwean workers, whose average wages are US$ 85 per month, are finding it difficult to make ends meet.
This resulted in health-care, energy and mine workers going on seat in and strikes last year to demand living wages and timely payment of wages.

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