BY ADMORE MARAMBANYIKA
The ZCTU has trained shopstewards on labour protection and just transition to prepare them for the changing world of work which is fast changing the nature and form of jobs owing to climate change and technological advancements.
The objectives of the two-day workshop were to educate and create awareness on climate change and its impact on workers’ rights, awareness on Occupational Safety Health and Environment related rights, discussing the ILO Key instruments on same and to orient shopstewards on the ILO Resolutions on Just Transition. The workshop also focussed on the social protection system in Zimbabwe and its challenges to the workers and generality of Zimbabweans.
Addressing participants, ZCTU Women’s Committee Secretary Clara Vera said changes in the world of work required that unions and workers prepare themselves for the new order. She said worker protection and fairness in the transition period must be prioritised through serious policy engagement and advocacy.
“We are gathered once again to discuss and strategies on ways to ensure labour protection is secured for workers and to look at the kind of Just Transition that benefits all workers without discrimination. Labour protection is a crucial element of the concept of decent work and has been at the core of the ILO’s mandate since its foundation in 1919. It is critical for governments to regulate issues of working time, wages, and health and safety, amongst others, which has continued to be central to ILO’s work to the present day. These issues form a crucial part of the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda,” she said.
Workers in Zimbabwe are faced with changing job opportunities particularly in the energy, banking, communications and manufacturing sectors. Technology is fast eliminating jobs and there is need for upskilling and reskilling in a manner that does not disadvantage workers and ensures decent work.
“Trade Unions must therefore advocate for governments to formulate policies that ensure an end to poverty and eradication of decent work deficits through human centred and inclusive development policies. Decent work is based on the idea that work is “a source of personal dignity, family stability, peace in the community, democracies that deliver for people and economic growth that expands opportunities for productive jobs and enterprise development”. The concept serves to shape social, economic and political priorities in individual countries and internationally, with the goal of achieving fair globalization, facilitating development that is inclusive, equitable and sustainable, as well as reducing poverty around the world,” she said
Vera added that labour protection was therefore critical in promoting decent work aspects that focuses on the economic, temporal and physical aspects of the individual at work like wages, violence free workplace, working time and occupational safety and health (OSH) which are at risk of being violated during transition.
“As the Global Community calls for a Just Transition, and as the ILO Defines it, Workers can only expect a Transition where “Greening the economy takes place in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind,” added Vera.
The shopstewards resolved to push for labour strategies on advocacy towards policies that promote decent work, labour protection, safety and resilience towards a Just Transition that is inclusive and human centred. They also resolved that ZCTU and its affiliates must carry out educational awareness workplace campaigns advocating for worker involvement of workers in the acquiring of new skills to match the demands of emerging jobs and advocating for protection of migrant workers through bilateral agreements.