LESS than 500 people turned out at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) Workers’ Day celebrations at Bulawayo’s White City Stadium yesterday.
BY PATIENCE RATAMBWA
ZCTU second vice-president Sibongile Siwela told the gathering there was nothing to celebrate this year as workers continued to lose jobs.
“While wages are as low as $200 across the board against the poverty datum line of $500, industry and commerce are talking about freezing of wage and salary increases, and in some cases, wage and salary cuts,” Siwela said.
“This is completely unacceptable because it will drive most workers further into poverty.
“Today, we are commemorating this day and not celebrating it. What’s there to celebrate when people are hungry and losing jobs daily?”
She accused employers of deliberately withholding trade union contributions from workers.
“The ZCTU believes that there is a deliberate ploy by employers not to remit trade union dues in order to stifle the operations of trade unions. This is unacceptable and must stop,” Siwela said. “We are witnessing late payment of wages and salaries as employers prioritise other things than workers.
“We are saying employers must have a human face, workers and their children are starving out there, please give them their dues in time.”
She said ZCTU was worried by the government’s move to amend the Labour Act, which would make it easier for employers to dismiss their staff.
“The ZCTU is worried by the current efforts to arbitrarily amend the Labour Act,” she said.
“We have been working hard to amend our laws so they conform to international standards.
“What we agreed to at the Tripartite Negotiation Forum was not what was presented to Cabinet.
“We believe the government and business were negotiating in bad faith and we demand that we go back to the original agreed document, this was clear rigging.”