Today, September 23, 2020 is the Global Day of Action in solidarity with the workers of Zimbabwe.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) applauds the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) for mobilising international support for the workers of Zimbabwe who continue to bear the brunt of a free-falling economy, neoliberal policies and a battered local currency. We further appreciate the support of trade unions from across the globe who continue to stand in solidarity with Zimbabwean workers.
The Coalition notes with concern the lack of sincerity on the part of the Zimbabwean government in addressing the welfare of its workers who continue to live far below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) in a highly inflationary environment.
To add on to its insincerity and intransigence, the Zimbabwean government has criminalised trade unionism and often responds with threats and brute force to genuine concerns from workers who are earning far below living wages.
Trade union leaders have often been labelled as terrorists and in some instances, some have been forced into hiding while others have had to endure lengthy periods in detention for demanding living wages. The use of force by the government has also led to some trade union leaders living in fear of losing their lives.
Government’s insincerity in addressing the plight of its workers has also led to a huge crisis within the country’s health sector as nurses and doctors have downed tools while another major crisis looms within the education sector with teachers threatening not to go back to work until the government addresses their plight.
CiZC implores the government of Zimbabwe to engage in genuine dialogue with workers rather than to criminalise their calls for a living wage. The use of threats and force against trade union leaders is unacceptable. It is also imperative for trade union leaders to coalesce rather than fall victim to the government’s divide and rule tactics.
CiZC also implores private sector employees to consider the welfare of their workers as well.