Labour movement the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) has expressed concern over the deteriorating working conditions Zimbabwean workers found themselves working under.
In a speech released by ZCTU Secretary General Japhet Moyo to mark the 43rd Independence Anniversary on April 18, the labor board said workers are suffering from a debilitating economic malaise that had pauperised the working class.
“Our 43 year journey has seen us going through good times that we glorify and rough patches of unimaginable proportions. The hopes and aspirations that the country envisioned in 1980 have not been met and particularly for workers, we are no longer enjoying the Unity, Freedom and Work. We mark this day on a sad note as a result of the debilitating economic malaise that has pauperised the working class.
“The status of a worker has diminished in independent Zimbabwe to the extent that the older generation reminisce with nostalgia and fondness ‘the good old working days under colonialism’ when wages had value and they could develop themselves and their families from their earnings unlike today,” said Moyo.
He also indicated that today’s laws no longer protect the rights of ordinary workers.
“Workers are no longer protected by the law as was in the early 1980’s. The laws of the land are not being fully upheld to protect workers and citizens. Our working environment has gradually deteriorated from independence. Workers in the formal and informal sectors are suffering from repressive and capitalistic laws that deter them from fully exercising their rights.
“From colonial slavery, workers are now in the modern day slavery savaged by their own kith and kin that now control the means of production and their foreign investor friends. Today local workers under foreign investors particularly the Chinese are no better than the slaves of the between 1700 and 1850. It has become worrisome that our government is failing to protect its own citizens from exploitation while stifling the democratic space for trade unions and CSO’s,” added Moyo.
The labour body criticized government over failure to ensure security on part of land reform beneficiaries who are with no tittle deeds.
“Over the years, the majority of our citizens remain economically vulnerable. Beneficiaries of the land reform programme do not have title deeds and survive at the mercy of the ruling party which may strip them of the land at any instance. The same applies to rural folks who are currently being displaced from their ancestral lands to pave way for foreign investors.
“Urbanites bear the brunt of broken down infrastructure. Basic services like water, electricity, roads and hospitals are hard to come by and infrastructure is dilapidating at a frightening pace. Most urban suburbs are receiving water for less than three days a week while going for over 18 hours without electricity a day. Our roads are all decorated with pot holes and no longer navigable, hospitals are in a poor state and schools do not have adequate components for learning,” said Moyo.