By Pauline Hurungudo
Zimbabwe’s main labour federation yesterday called for a strike this month to protest the worsening economic conditions in the country.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions’ (ZCTU) general council has discussed the impact of the country’s economic crisis on workers, marked by weakening purchasing power and price hikes.
It did not disclose when the strike would be held.
ZCTU president Peter Mutasa told reporters that the union was protesting failure by businesses to meet labour’s demands for US dollar salaries and the general deteriorating economic conditions in the country.
“ZCTU is calling every worker to join hands from the vendors who lost their only living from the recent evictions,” Mutasa said
“Schools want to close and we know if teachers’ calls are not heard, no child will go to school in January.
“That is not a life, so we are calling everyone to peacefully speak on the streets because the government has said we should remain in queues on the streets.
“It is allowed by the constitution and we are going to call a day for shutdown of banks, factories and offices because if we do not do a general strike or shut down we will not be heard,” Mutasa said.
This comes after doctors have also downed tools following the economic crisis which has crippled their buying power, amid shortages of fuel and some basic needs, citing the difficult working conditions they have been forced to capitulate to.
Commodity prices have also seen exorbitant price hikes by more than 300 percent, in comparison to pricing in January.
Reports have shown that majority of workers have not received any salary increment, although a few private companies have been reported to have given workers, hardship allowance in form of a few basic commodities and cash.
The fuel shortages have emasculated both informal and formal workers, causing local commuter omnibuses to raise bus fares up to $2.50 from the $0.50, which was the cost begging of the year.
This has caused many commuters to opt for inhumane alternatives, boarding supposedly cheaper overloaded buses on top of the top deck carrier to go home after work.
Mutasa said that such issues call for concern and all workers including informal workers such as vendors must also join the shutdown in order to avert the 2008 economic situation.
“On Friday we saw something that we used to see in Rwanda, DRC and Sudan that someone comes to work and the money cannot buy much and after that you are forced to board on top of a bus all the way to Chitungwiza.
“Doctors have refused to go back to work and so we are calling every worker to speak out because if we don’t speak out we will continue to suffer.
“If we remain silent, they will continue ruling us in the same conditions and if we complain that things are expensive and that the tax is too much, they will say that we barking like dogs,” Mutasa said. DailyNews