BY STAFF REPORTER
THE International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has confronted President Emmerson Mnangagwa over the arrest of teachers who were detained following a wage demonstration.
The global union federation demanded that the teachers be released unconditionally calling on the government to respect citizens’ rights.
In a letter to President Mnangagwa dated January 14, 2022, the ITUC Secretary General, Sharan Burrow denounced the fact that workers’ conditions have deteriorated in the new dispensation.“The ITUC hereby makes the following demands of your government; the unconditional release from police custody of all the detained members of the ARTUZ, immediately cease harassment of unionists by state security forces and judicial persecution of the same, investigate and bring to justice police officers who brutalised the demonstrators,” she said.
“We wonder whether you are still listening or have since closed your ears. The teachers and the rest of the workers in your country have a very clear message –they want to be paid their United States dollars as was the case prior to October 2018.
“They are not demanding more, and it has already been proven that your government cannot go beyond what Mugabe left-instead we see a reverse if not the worst conditions,” said Burrow.
She reminded Mnangagwa that before he assumed power from the late former President Robert Gabriel Mugabe in November 2017, teachers were earning a salary of US$540,00 per month which has gone down to about US$200 per month.
She questioned the rationale behind the continued payment of teachers and other civil service employees in Zimbabwean dollars at a time when goods and services are mostly priced in United States dollars.
The ITUC leader urged Mnangagwa to respect workers’ rights and their freedom of association as enshrined in the Zimbabwe Constitution, the ILO Conventions on Freedom of Association and Protection of the right to organise among other international human rights obligations.