ILO in bid to mend govt, ZCTU rift

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By Alois Vinga

THE International Labour Organisation (ILO) has stepped in to try and ease tensions between government and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) in the wake of a recent crackdown on leaders of the country’s biggest labour body.

ILO Zimbabwe country director, Hopolang Phororo revealed this in an exclusive interview with recently.

“ILO is a tripartite organisation working with government, workers and employers and we feel that one of the biggest things that needs to happen among these parties is dialogue,” Phororo said.

“If we are able to talk together as social partners and come up with solutions, then we begin to chat the path is solving these issues.”

ZCTU leaders have been charged over alleged attempts to overthrow President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government after calling for a three-day job boycott January this year.

The shutdown coincided with violent anti-government protests characterised by massive looting, property destruction and a brutal state crackdown on civilians which led to the death of 17, according to NGOs.

Before the January skirmishes, the ZCTU leaders were also arrested and charged last for allegedly inciting public violence when they had insisted on going ahead with a workers’ demonstration which had been banned by police.

Government also accuses ZCTU of being an appendage of the opposition MDC.

Phororo was hopeful that authorities could mend their rift with ZCTU if dialogue between the parties was given a chance.

“We have been talking to these parties over these issues and we will continue to do so because our organisation brings together employers, employees and government and one of the hallmark foundations of the ILO is social dialogue.

“So, we definitely need to assist the social partners to begin working together,” Phororo said.

She said ongoing plans by government to pass the Tripartite Negotiation Bill into law will also go a long way helping the parties find common ground.