Cosatu pledges support for Zim unions

The South African Congress of Trade Unions has pledged financial and human resources assistance to Zimbabwean worker federations.

Besides being SA’s biggest worker movement, Cosatu, a tripartite member of SA’s ruling African National Congress, is also one of the regional bodies that have been very critical of President Robert Mugabe’s rule.

With Zimbabwean worker groupings, especially the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, having in the past faced resource and financial constraints stemming from employers barring their workers from contributing, COSATU said it would soon chip in.

“Last year, we contributed money for our sister organizations in Zimbabwe to pay their office rentals and employees’ salaries,” said Nomthandazo Sikiti, a member of Cosatu.

“We will soon dispatch a team that will go to Zimbabwe on a fact-finding mission regarding what our sister organizations there need. All Cosatu affiliates have taken a decision to assist their colleagues in Zimbabwe so that the country’s unions are brought back to life,” Sikiti added.

Besides offering financial and human resources assistance, Sikiti said her movement would also try to resolve the internal issues that continue to threaten the existence of the ZCTU.

“There is a dire need to assist the ZCTU get over the challenges that it is currently facing so that it regains its strength. We will do our best to see that issues within the movement are resolved amicably.

‘‘Next year, we will convene a conference for all worker unions in Africa, which will hopefully further strengthen them. We know that there are countries on the continent where unions are being victimised,” said the labour activist.

COSATU has over the years remained critical of Mugabe’s use of force to cling to power, while also protesting against his use of repressive legislation to harass and torture worker union leaders for leading protests against the continued exploitation of government workers.

The union has also challenged the ANC to exert pressure on Mugabe to allow democracy to prevail in Zimbabwe.

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