As the world commemorates this important day, CiZC implores the Zimbabwean government to urgently address the concerns of civil servants, most of whom are earning far below the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) which is currently estimated at around $600.00.
CiZC holds the view that a motivated workforce (in this particular instance civil servants) is critical for national development hence the need for the government to prioritize the welfare of its workers.
CiZC notes with concern that the government has for years totally ignored the concerns of civil servants and as discontent continues to grow among the workers, the government has resorted to intimidation and threats of dismissal.
The recent move (on April 17, 2018) by the Vice President, Retired General Constantine Chiwenga to fire striking nurses has shown a blatant disregard for labour rights by the “new dispensation”.
That is why we insist on the need for Zimbabwe to be open in all fronts, rather than being ‘open for business’, which in this case is a euphemism for outright exploitation of Zimbabwe-As if to say Zimbabwe is under the hammer, up for grabs for exploitation as the leadership is seemingly sleeping on the switch.
When there is such a blanket ‘open for business’, it’s the rights of the citizens in general and those of workers specifically that are undermined as there will be brazen state-capital collusion.
We implore the government to desist from heavy handed approaches and prioritize negotiations when dealing with genuine concerns from its workers.
Heavy handed approaches, as shown by VP Chiwenga will only plunge the nation into a deeper crisis, as the government is seen to be disregarding the constitution, which it is supposed to protect.
When such excesses happen, the government continues on the path of apparent disregard of labour rights and resorts to military tactics to quell genuine protests by impoverished workers.
We take with great concern the move by the government to politicize industrial actions by civil servants who are merely seeking to push their employer to improve their welfare as well as working conditions
It is quite clear that the continued unrest in Zimbabwe’s public service is evidence of the government’s failure to prioritize the welfare of its workers. In some instances, the government has gone to an extent of misleading the nation on issues of civil servants’ salaries.
This was the case when Health Minister, Dr. David Parirenyatwa publicly announced in March 2018 that they had reached an agreement with striking doctors yet that was not the situation on the ground.
This year’s workers day comes at a time teachers have threatened to go on a nationwide strike and CiZC implores the government to urgently act and negotiate with the teachers to avert yet another national crisis.
CiZC also calls upon employers across the board to prioritize workers’ welfare and strive to ensure that salaries are in line with the Poverty Datum Line. It however must also be noted that improving the investment climate in the country is critical in improving the welfare of workers.
CiZC, stands in solidarity with the workers of Zimbabwe and urges them to remain vigilant in defending their constitutionally guaranteed rights which includes the right to organize, collective bargaining and petitioningPost published in: Featured