Police have cowed workers: ZCTU

Zimbabwean workers continue to suffer poor working conditions but are not free to air their grievances due to the heavy handedness of the police, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said ahead of this year’s Workers Day celebrations.

Japhet Moyo: they still bear the scars.
Japhet Moyo: they still bear the scars.

ZCTU Secretary General, Japhet Moyo, told The Zimbabwean workerswere still underpaid but could not openly express their grievances for fear the excessive use of force by the police.

“It is time we devised other ways of protesting because of what happened in the past where leaders were beaten by the police. Even today, they (victims of police brutality) walk with the scars and, as a result, the workers are reluctant to join a strike because they fear the consequences,” said Moyo. In 2006 President Mugabe’s government instilled fear into the masses after his police severely assaulted the ZCTU leadership, including veteran trade unionists Lovemore Matombo, Lucia Matibenga, now a Cabinet Minister, and former Secretary General, Wellington Chibebe.

Since then, workers have not organised a successful strike and the police have been swift to arrest those who have attempted to turn to the streets to voice their plight.

The ZCTU estimates that over 80 percent of the country’s population is unemployed and those that are in formal employment are receiving poor salaries and wages.

“The State has destabilised the workers and, as a union, we must come up with ways to confront the system. We should not be scared forever. With time, we are going to devise ways which will enable us to challenge the system,” vowed Moyo.

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