ZIMBABWE today joins the rest of the world in commemorating Workers’ Day amid calls for all workers to unite and support Government initiatives that focus on the attainment of Vision 2030 and workers wanting Government to root out corruption and ensure retailers and others are not profiteering on basic commodities.
Workers also called for the Government and the private sector to look into the welfare of their employees.
Public events cannot take place because of the lockdown restrictions, but the day is being marked.
Speaking ahead of the commemorations, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said Government was working flat out to deal with price hikes and profiteering.
The various organisations are celebrating the worker’s day today while the Confederation for Civil Servants will be celebrating on Monday. The Minister will attend the celebrations as the guest of honour
“I would like to make them understand that we are nothing without the workers who commit 100 percent of their time in making sure that our economy is moving. This year, last year they have been working under very difficult conditions due to the Covid-19.
“We need to salute our workers. They are the fundamental contributors to our economy. I support, i salute them, we need to recognise their rights; we need to make that we have done everything within our powers to reward them accordingly,”.
The Government was committed to ensure the workers have descent livelihoods and had hope for the future. “As the Government and the private sector we should take the plight of the workers into consideration,” said Minister Mavima.
The new administration led by President Mnangagwa has made the welfare of workers its top priority and is also working to ensure better relations between the private sector and the Government.
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Union secretary-general Mr Kennias Shamuyarira called on all workers to support President Mnangagwa’s vision of making Zimbabwe an upper middle income economy by 2030.
“We are happy with the Government’s commitment to negotiate with its workers to improve their welfare. At least the Government is doing something to cushion their workers.
The union will hold its commemorations under the theme “Confronting the elite Black and White Monopoly Cartels” with commemorations focusing on issues that have affected workers especially in the retail sector over the period.
“We know the retail sectors are making super profits, but they are not paying their workers enough to support their families. We are going to take them head on,” said Mr Shamuyarira.
Their main celebrations will be in Hwange, and they will proceed to Victoria Falls the following day where the union body be distributing T-shirts.
The commemorations will be attended by 200 members drawn from workers’ unions in the country.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union president Mr Peter Mutasa called upon the Government to end profiteering which has eroded the workers’ buying power. “We call upon the Government to lament the present unjustified price hikes, a situation that has left citizens and workers finding it difficult to stay afloat economically. We expect the Government to continue negotiating with their workers for better wages,” he said.
This year, he said they are not going to have yesteryear gatherings due to Covid-19 pandemic. “We expect our members to have gatherings of not more than 50 people in their respective districts,”.
Energy Sector Workers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Mr Gibson Mushunje said that the worker’s day is a day to reflect the gains and achievement of the workers. He commended the Second Republic for working tirelessly towards improving the welfare of workers and creating employment for the people.
“The mining sector and the manufacturing sectors have been given a fresh breath by the deployment of fiscal funds without any external borrowing. This has seen major infrastructure developments in dams construction, roads rehabilitation, new power stations and outright new construction of roads as being witnessed by the Beitbridge- Chirundu highway. This is applauded as the future of workers is guaranteed.”
However, he said workers cannot celebrate when they have nothing to show off as the working class.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Mr Enock Dongo said the day was the big day where all workers are being recognised for the sterling work they do across the globe.
“It is indeed our day as workers especially us nurses considering that we are in the middle of the deadly pandemic of Covid-19 where everyone is looking at our service for their life.
“Nurses are very pivotal and critical at this moment since they are the ones carrying the burden of the pandemic. “As we commemorate the day let’s all Zimbabwean regardless of political affiliation, remember our heroes and heroines of the day who are the nurses. They have done a lot to make sure we became victorious over the pandemic.
“We want to thank the Government of Zimbabwe for the support they have given to the nurses during this pandemic and all other private entities and non-governmental organisations that are working with the Ministry of Health and Child Care to try and fight the pandemic. Without all of you it was going to be very difficult for the nurses to discharge their duties,” said Mr Dongo.
Nurses will commemorate the day at work since they cannot afford to leave their work stations and gather in the middle of the pandemic. He called upon Zimbabweans to give psychological support to the nurses as they celebrate workers’ day at work saving life.
He also called upon the Government to continue reviewing the salaries of health workers. “We are much worried by the brain drain of nurses. We are losing senior nurses on a day to day bases and that is not good for our health delivery system,”.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) Mr Raymond Majongwe called upon the Government to ratify Convention 151 and 154 as they continue to engage Collective Bargaining.