Fresh hope for unpaid and exploited workers

Workers in Zimbabwe, especially in the private sector and state-owned companies, have received a raw deal from their employers for far too long, and the time has come to put an end to this modern day slavery, and for these workers to finally receive justice and their dignity back.

Thousands of workers in Zimbabwe have not been paid for years, whilst also being unceremoniously retrenched without any terminal benefits.
Reports of the sad plight of workers from such companies as the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), Mbada Diamonds, Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (Ziscosteel), and others, have dorminated headlines over the past year – as a result of their illtreatment and abuse by their employers over the past couple of years.
These painful reports have highlighted how these workers have not been paid their salaries for years – being owed thousands of dolllars each – as well as, not being awarded their terminal benefits.
This being inspite of these companies being plundered of millions, if not billions, of dollars by the powers that be – none of whom has ever been held accountable.
In fact, it has been widely reported that at least US $15 billion from diamond sales just vanished into thin air – yet no one has been arrested.
Additionally, a commission of enquiry set up by the Zimbabwe government in 2009 to probe corruption at Ziscosteel uncovered massive plundering by high ranking government officials – however, none of them was ever brought to book or even exposed.
Yet, workers at these entities have toiled – some for decades – and have not been gived what they worked for.
Most are living in abject poverty, unable even to send their children to school – not to mention, failing to pay rent for their accommodation, and clothe their families.
Those who plundered these companies have gone scot free, whilst enjoying the spoils of their ill-gotten wealth.
The time for such cruel and callous treatment of workers has come to an end, and justice should finally prevail.
Workers should finally get their dues, and those who plundered these companies brought to book.
Every cent that was plundered should be returned – and every legal channel be exploited to ensure that happens.
The Zimbabwe Network for Social Justice (ZNSJ) seeks to achieve exactly that goal, through linking these suffering and impoverished workers with exceptionally gifted legal experts – who can offer pro bono (free) services – to ensure that justice prevails.
The ZNSJ has already linked up workers from one of the diamond mines with one of Zimbabwe’s best lawyers.
ZNSJ is also engaged in pursuing the plight of all these oppressed groups through highlighting their cases through both the local and international media, and other fora – such as, various international oversight organisations.
It is the hope of ZNSJ that all those oppressed and abused groups of people,  such as workers and even residents in local authorities are given the justice they deserve.
It is long overdue that the longsuffering people of Zimbabwe stood up for their rights – firmly and bravely rejecting all forms of abuse and oppression – and demand their rightful dues.
° Tendai Ruben Mbofana is the Programmes Director of the Zimbabwe Network for Social Justice (ZNSJ), and can be contacted on +263782283975.

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