Gloom for Bulawayo workers, little cheer on May Day

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

ZIMBABWE’s industrial hub, Bulawayo continues to hemorrhage jobs amid company closures with labour federation the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) indicating there is little to celebrate for workers.

On May 1st, Zimbabwe today joins the rest of the world in commemorating Workers’ Day.

In an interview with, ZCTU western region chairperson, Ambrose Sibindi said only about 40 percent of Bulawayo’s industries are currently operating.

He said some of the industries have also scaled down operations due to the current harsh economic environment.

Sibindi said the ZCTU has come up with several demands which it wants government to address as a matter of urgency.

“One of our key demands is that the government should inject funds into the revival of Bulawayo industries. We are also demanding that prices of goods in shops should fall and no to labour market flexibility,” said Sibindi.

The ZCTU regional chairperson said the labour movement is also demanding the alignment of labour laws, as well as the end to arbitral arrests and torture of trade union activists.

He added that despite the current economic hardships, the labour movement will hold this year‘s commemorations at Stanley Square in Makokoba.

“As southern region, we have come up with the mobilisation, logistics and information committees which have worked around the clock to make sure that we have successful commemorations.

“We will start our procession at the regional offices along George Silunduka and march to Stanley Square where the main regional event will take place,” said Sibindi.

The ZCTU chairperson said this year’s event has faced numerous logistical challenges due to the current economic problems facing the country.

“In terms of resource mobilisation, we had serious challenges because companies who normally donate towards the celebrations are struggling to survive. However, I would like to pay tribute to some organisations like the city council who have provided us with transport for the procession,” said the ZCTU southern region boss.

Sibindi said informal traders will also attend this year’s event.

“We have got a memorandum of understating with vendors because most of them used to be formally employed and some of them were our members. A lot of informal traders have indicated that they will be attending this year’s celebrations,” added Sibindi.

This year’s commemorations are being held under the theme “We are at a crossroads! Unite Fight Neoliberalism and Austerity”.

ZCTU vice president John Chirenda will officiate at this year’s celebrations in the city.

Once the country’s industrial hub, companies in Bulawayo have either closed or relocated to other places.

Big companies like National Blankets, Zeco, Cold Storage Commission, and clothing companies such as Archer, Security Mils and Merlin are some of the big companies which have either down-sized production or closed shop due to operational constraints.