Employers’ group blasts bullet threats against ZCTU leaders

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By Alois Vinga

THE Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) has condemned the recent bullet parcels sent to Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leaders by suspected State agents to warn them against proceeding with a planned job stayaway.

But the employers group was quick to maintain demonstrations by the main workers’ federation will violate the spirit of social dialogue.

ZCTU president, Peter Mutasa and secretary general, Japhet Moyo claimed this week they received letters with bullets.

They said contents of the letters warned them against mobilising workers and informed the duo that if they proceeded, they will face dire consequences.

Reacting to the developments in a wide ranging interview with, EMCOZ president, Israel Murefu said reports of State intimidation were not pleasing.

“It is not right to be doing that and if there is anyone intimidating the union leaders, such behaviour must cease because it destroys the spirit of social dialogue. The nation is about to look up to rebuilding and such acts are condemned in the strongest tone,” he said.

The employers group chief however expressed reservations over the plans to demonstrate saying that unions must use peaceful and legally accepted dispute resolution mechanisms as provided by the laws of the land.

“We don’t believe strikes will work and while they pile pressure on employers it may cause disturbances and after the end of the strike you still need to negotiate,” he said.

Murefu also disputed claims allegations that employers in the country were benefiting from government policies saying that his constituency has been equally affected due to lack of consultation in crafting the policies.

Quizzed on why the private sector is not equally remunerating its employees despite declaring huge profits in the 2018 financial year, Murefu dismissed the allegations pointing out that not all companies were declaring huge profits and urged critics to appreciate the dynamics of company revenue.

“There is need to appreciate the fact that profits are not just meant to churned out towards salaries. Shareholders need to be paid, raw materials need to be prioritised and above all funds must be allocated towards future growth and some reserved for uncertain phases in anticipation that losses may be incurred.

“So if we work with the assumption that people must be paid basing on the profit assumption, does it mean that during times of loss, employees should not be paid anything? There is therefore the need to appreciate that business is about balancing broad interests and ensuring viability and sustainability,” he said.