via Tsvangirai, ZCTU close ranks – Southern Eye 17 January 2014 by Moses Matenga
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday met the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to discuss the plight of workers amid a war of words with Zanu PF over the state of the economy.
Tsvangirai, who was accompanied by MDC-T vice-president Thokozani Khupe, secretary-general Tendai Biti and organising secretary Nelson Chamisa, among others, met the ZCTU top five in Harare.
The meeting that came a day after civil servants rejected a government offer to increase their salaries by $79 was immediately dismissed by Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa as a non-event.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed the meeting between his boss and the ZCTU.
“The two parties met and discussed the crisis in the country that started after a stolen (July 31) election,” he said.
“The MDC-T believes in where it comes from, so it’s like the party was meeting with its parentage.
“The salary issue came up for discussion and the general plight of workers especially government workers was discussed.
“Workers are not happy with the situation on the ground and if workers are not happy, the MDC-T and the ZCTU are also not happy.”
However, Tamborinyoka could not reveal how MDC-T and ZCTU would deal with the problems the workers are facing.
ZCTU acting secretary-general Misheck Shoko said the MDC-T leadership had requested to brief the labour union on the outcome of the July 31 election.
“They invited us to brief us on the outcome of the election and the way forward,” he said.
“We were told the elections were rigged and that the way forward was the MDC-T will participate in Parliament and other institutions where it has representatives.
“They said they will go back to the people and tell them what happened.”
MDC-T’s shadow cabinet also held a meeting in Harare where it accused Zanu PF of mismanaging the economy, leading to poor conditions for workers.
But Mutasa said MDC-T was now a spent force and the government would not lose sleep over its meetings.
“The whole world now knows that they are a spent force, no-one can take them seriously anymore,” he said.
“Even their British friends no longer take them seriously. I don’t know why they are wasting their energy holding such meetings because they are of no consequence.
“But you can’t stop them because it’s their democratic right. To us whatever they resolve to do is of no effect and consequence.”
MDC was formed by ZCTU members, but relations with MDC-T appeared to sour during the lifespan of the inclusive government when Tsvangirai was accused of ignoring the plight of workers as prime minister.
ZCTU has also been resisting MDC-T manoeuvres to work with the labour body to rebuild after its poor performance in last year’s elections and the meeting with Tsvangirai could bring an end to the hostilities.