Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Statement on International Workers Day 2024

Source: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Statement on International Workers Day 2024

Today is the 44th anniversary of International Workers Day, also known as May Day. Since our democratic breakthrough in April 1980, we have made significant strides in building a more equitable society in Zimbabwe.

The majority of our people, especially the working class, have seen immense social progress over the years. This progress was achieved through our post-1980 labour laws, which recognized human and worker rights that we fought for and enshrined them in our constitution’s Bill of Rights.

However, the question remains: how much progress have we made towards achieving our goals of liberation, democracy, and universal social emancipation since 1980? As we celebrate International Worker’s Day, it is essential to recognize that your labor is the backbone of our economy, and your dedication is the driving force behind our progress.

As the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, we recognize the challenges that you face and stand in solidarity with you in the fight for fair wages, safe working conditions, and social justice. We must recommit ourselves to supporting one another and advocating for a better future for all.

The recognition of workers’ rights in our constitution and labour laws did not come as a favour. The workers had to organize themselves into trade unions, build their power, and wage a non-sexist struggle for these rights. Today, more than ever, we need the unity of organized workers and the working class at large to roll back the neoliberal agenda that undermines collective bargaining.

Gender-based violence and other forms of criminality continue to be a stubborn challenge that the working class needs to confront through maximum unity. Women in the workplace and the economy still face gender discrimination and abuse, including gender-based violence. This must come to an end through the common effort of women and men workers, both as sisters and brothers, united in pursuit of a non-sexist society.

We implore the Government of Zimbabwe to restore workers’ dignity by ensuring decent wages, restoring lost pensions and savings, freeing the labour space, and re-introducing safety nets in public health and education to cushion the peasants and workers from the externalization of wealth and minerals.

We need to acknowledge that the challenges faced by the working class and the masses of our people are a direct result of the ZANU PF government’s poor governance, corruption, lack of rule of law, and dictatorship.

Therefore, we strongly urge all progressive workers in our country and the entire labour movement to recognize that workers cannot thrive in the absence of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights. This necessitates the unity of the working class, as well as the organization and mobilization of our people to confront the issues that Zimbabwe is facing.

We have concerns about the current state of the workers’ movement in Zimbabwe, specifically the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). Lately, the organization has displayed undemocratic behavior by suppressing freedom of expression. This was evident by the way they tried to silence and block the Coalition’s former spokesperson, Cde Obert Masaraure from addressing last year’s May Day celebrations.

The worker’s movement should be an open, democratic space where people can express their opinions freely, debate, and accept divergent views with tolerance.

We urge all working-class people and the affiliates of the national union to defend the workers’ movement from capture by the ruling elites and capital.

Happy Worker’s Day, Zimbabwe!