The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) President Florence Taruvinga has said Zimbabwe is far from realizing the Decent Work Agenda (DWA) though the initiative was launched nine years ago.
In a speech read on her behalf last weekend by the national executive member of Zimbabwe Hotel and Catering Workers Union Netsai Matumbike at the ZCTU Southern region boardroom in Masvingo, Taruvinga said Zimbabwe is a long way from attaining the DWA set goals.
“The ZCTU has with conviction noted that the country is still far from attaining meaningful gains in the DWA. We have also realized that policies implemented by government have failed to respond sufficiently to the needs and dictates of decent work.
“Workers in Zimbabwe face the following high unemployment, poor quality and unproductive jobs, unsafe work, insecure income catalysed by the decimation of workers’ rights. Government and employers gained much ground, implemented measures against attainment of decent work while the labour movement was immobilized.
“Generally most workers are experiencing serious decent work deficits. Meagre wages, wage theft and precarious work are prevalent even in informal employment. Modern day slavery is over-pronounced at Chinese-owned companies which enjoy protection from government. How can we achieve DWA if our own government is guilty of protecting the major perpetrators of workers’ abuse?” said Taruvinga.
She went on to say achieving a decent wage on part of Zimbabwean workers is a major challenge.
“The World Day for Decent Work 2022 theme of ‘wage justice’ is an apt challenge to us. Our wages are very low and inadequate but we will continue to call for a Poverty Datum Line linked minimum wage as our starting point.
“The demands and issues that we raised over the years have not changed because our situation is not showing any signs of improvement, rather it’s getting worse.
“As part of 2022 commemorations, we highlight the following: advocating for amendment of repressive and draconian laws, evaluation and auditing of decent work achievements, dissemination of DWA information, campaign for labour law reform and gender equality as well as ratification of International Labour Organization (ILO) convention 190,” added Taruvinga.
She said the agenda can be achieved if all social partners namely government, business and labour.
Government and labour have been at logger heads as the latter feels the former is doing nothing to correct the situation in the country facing most if not all workers.