By Alois Vinga
LABOUR Minister Paul Mavima has urged workers to snub the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) organised demonstrations, which start this Monday, saying the protests have nothing to do with improving the welfare of employees.
The labour minister said the demonstrations were instead only meant to prop-up the political agenda of opposition parties.
Speaking to NewZimbabwe.com Sunday, Mavima expressed shock as to why the labour federation was mobilising workers before exhausting the necessary formal channels to address the plight of the employees.
“What is the motive behind the demonstrations? Workers must dissociate themselves from such industrial actions being organised by labour leaders who have chosen to renege on their responsibility to advance workers issues and instead pursue an opposition political agenda,” he said.
His reaction comes against a background where the ZCTU has instructed its 33 affiliates to mobilise workers for hour-long lunchtime demonstrations to be staged at all workplaces across the country starting this Monday.
The industrial action is aimed at pushing the government to reverse its policy stipulating that the Zimbabwe dollar is the official currency. Workers complain that the local currency has lost its value, and this had seriously affected their welfare.
The ZCTU is also demanding payment of workers’ salaries in US dollars, and an urgent review of prices of basic goods and services.
But Mavima dismissed the demands saying there cannot be a one size fits all approach for workers considering that they come from different sectors.
“That cannot be achieved. It is important to highlight that workers come from different sectors and they are represented at various national employment councils. So labour must make use of these platforms and engage employers in their respective sectors through dialogue and reach amicable solutions,” said Mavima.
He added at the national level, the ZCTU must engage other social partners at the Tripartite Negotiation Forum (TNF).
Contacted for comment, the ZCTU secretary-general, Japhet Moyo dismissed the minister’s remarks accusing him of not telling the truth.
“The TNF meetings’ records speak volumes on how labour has pushed for the resolution of US dollar salaries from January up to July 2020 and how we have raised the issues of adequate provision of PPEs (personal protective equipment),” he said.
Moyo said the local economy had dollarised itself and businesses have been given the green light to trade in US dollars despite the government not taking a visible stance on the plight of workers.
“It cannot be said to be a ‘political agenda’ unless we all agree that politics is the distribution of resources and at the moment workers are at the receiving end,” added Moyo.