By James Mutasa
Zimbabwean workers have demanded an end to poverty, corruption and oppression amidst a cost-of-living crisis characterised by high inflation of 75.2 per cent, increasing poverty levels, and high unemployment as they marked this year’s Workers Day.
The demand was embedded in the ZCTU Workers Day Theme; “Workers demand an inclusive Zimbabwe free from poverty, corruption, and oppression.”
The May Day theme relates to the country’s adverse mentions in the Application of International Labour Standards 2023 Report of the Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations. Zimbabwe has been asked to explain, after reports were made by the ITUC and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions on violating Convention 87 and Convention 98. Additionally, the government of Zimbabwe must respond to serious allegations of violations of trade union rights and civil liberties. These include anti-union discrimination and proposed labour law amendment bills that curtail workers’ rights.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) President Florence Taruvinga said; “the government must include trade unions in their processes through social dialogue, so that workers are given the opportunity to defend their interests. Further, we would like investors especially Chinese employers to respect workers and stop humiliating them through beatings.”
She added that the Zimbabwean workplace has changed and is largely informal, and this calls for unity between the formal and informal workers.
According to the country’s statistical agency Zimstats most workers earning less than US$62 per month and trade unions are concerned that most workers and their families are living in poverty. Unions say workers need at least $500 to afford basics like food, transport, and housing.”
The ZCTU is campaigning for USD salaries and wages and for government to gazette the US$150-00 minimum wage across all sectors as the value of the local currency continues to fall.
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