Chinese firms claim ‘protection’ from authorities: ZCTU

TRADE unionists have accused top officials at Chinese-run companies in the Midlands province of being uncooperative when consulted on labour-related issues, claiming to be well-connected to top government officials.

Stephen Chadenga

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) central region chairperson, Kudakwashe Munengiwa, made the claims in an interview with Southern Eye during Workers’ Day commemorations in Gweru on Monday.

Munengiwa said union leaders were usually barred from entering Chinese-owned firms.

“We face serious challenges when dealing with the Chinese on matters relating to unsafe conditions and other unfair labour practices,” Munengiwa said.

“They will shut you out and tell you that they have protection from high authorities in government. As a union we, therefore, call upon such authorities to impress upon the Chinese that they can’t be an exception when the union deals with labour matters at their workplaces.”

Since the advent of the Look East Policy in 2007 by the government, the country has witnessed an influx of Chinese companies in the economy.

Munengiwa said in most cases, workers at Chinese-owned firms operated under poor working conditions, without safety clothing and were often underpaid.

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