Magazine article New African

Trade Unions Group Ask Workers to Stand by for Strikes

Magazine article New African

Trade Unions Group Ask Workers to Stand by for Strikes

Article excerpt

On 10 July, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the country's umbrella trade unions group, issued two statements signed by its secretary general, Wellington Chibebe, asking workers (in the first statement) to "prepare for national action" [strikes] against the government's price war because it fears cutting prices of goods and services by 50% might lead to job losses, and (in the second statement) asking workers to "prepare to resist any move to cut salaries by 50%". Below are the two statements:

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is becoming increasingly concerned by imminent job losses caused by the unprecedented move by government to indiscriminately cut prices of all commodities, including clothing.

Already industry has been performing at 20% capacity and the current chaos will further worsen this situation. The price cuts are only a temporary measure that will give false hope to the multitude of Zimbabweans.

Labour notes that even though prices have been cut, most workers still cannot afford to buy the goods, let alone travel to work on conventional transport as they are earning far below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) that stood at $5.5m as at May 2007.

Of concern also is the fact that shelves in most shops are now empty. This will force workers to spend precious time hunting for basic commodities with the little money they have, instead of putting the time to production at work.

The ZCTU demands that government deals with root causes of the economic rot and not offer piecemeal solutions that in the long run will cost the country greatly.

We are inclined to believe that the government has failed because over the past few years it has failed to come up with any meaningful solutions to the crisis we are facing. Stop-gap measures have been employed, yet people continue to suffer. Labour is saying that it is high time we stop running the country on stop-gap measures and on the basis of piece-meal political projects. Successful countries run their countries on the basis of sustainable programmes.

To this end, we urge the workers of Zimbabwe to prepare for national action, action that is meant to break the chains of this slavery.

The second statement, titled "ZCTU will resist any salary cuts", said:

It has come to the attention of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) that plans are underway to cut salaries of all workers by 50% in line with the price cuts that have been indiscriminately taking place. …

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