Stop threatening workers, Mpariwa tells govt

via Stop threatening workers, Mpariwa tells govt | The Zimbabwean by Farai Mabeza 10.01.14

MDC Shadow Minister for Labour, Employment and Social Security, Paurina Mpariwa has said Government should create a framework for social dialogue and demanded that Labour Minister, Nicholas Goche, should stop making threats to civil servants.

Goche recently warned civil servants’’ unions threatening to go on strike that any job action should be done in accordance with the law.

Mpariwa told a press conference today that it was every worker’s constitutional right to participate in collective job action.

“Goche’s intimidation of the civil servants, especially teachers, who are demanding a living wage and better working conditions, is total unacceptable as it is at variance with the country’s constitution,” she said.

The former trade unionist said Goche should implement and honour his party’s electoral promises to award all civil servants above poverty datum line salaries and create better working conditions.

“Zanu (PF) should stop paying lip service to the clear rights of civil servants to receive increased and back dated salaries,” Mpariwa said.

She said the ruling party had failed “to respect International Labour Organisation guidelines to engage in and promote social dialogue with labour and employers”.

Mpariwa said her party was concerned by the number of companies shutting down and workers being thrown out of employment.

“Over 300 companies have been liquidated in recent months while 149 companies have filed for liquidation at the High Court and over 300 workers are being retrenched on a weekly basis,” she said.

Mpariwa said this was “contrary to the Zanu (PF) election manifesto which claimed it will create over two million jobs in the next five years but six months later, not a single job has been created”.

She gave examples of companies which she said had failed due to the absence of government support. Companies such as David Whitehead Textiles, Blue Ribbon Industries, Merspin, National Blankets and Modzone and Karina Textiles are under judicial management.

Other companies that are struggling include Kalahari Clothing, Lancashire Clothing Company, Polyfoil Zim, Walters Bakery, Impala Enterprises and Lasker Brothers.

“The most affected people are the workers who are not certain whether these companies will reopen in 2014,” Mpariwa said.

Some of the biggest employers in the country have also laid off workers and these include Zimplats, Unki, Bindura Nickel, Mimosa, Spar Supermarkets, Dairibord, Cairns Foods and Olivine Industries.

The banking sector has not been spared by the country’s rapid economic slowdown since the July 2013 elections, with seven banks being placed under surveillance by the Central Bank.

Mpariwa said this was “only a tip of the iceberg of what is happening across the country where thousands of workers are being laid off”.