Main labour body says support for political parties conditional

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By William Milasi

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has said its support for political parties ahead of this year’s crunch elections is conditional.

Secretary General Japhet Moyo said ZCTU only lends support to parties, “who carry the people’s agenda”.

“Our support for any political party and anyone holding a political office is conditional,” said Moyo in an interview.

“Anyone who swears that he would carry the people’s agenda is assured of our votes. There is no free lunch for the politicians.”

ZCTU, Moyo said, was concerned with the continuing deterioration of workers welfare.

“The reason why ZCTU is still talking about “wage theft” today is because the situation for most workers has not changed.

“The majority is still not being paid their regular salaries and wages, and those lucky to receive their pay are again stuck in bank queues.”

He added that the change of guard in the country has not been for the workers benefit. He was referring to last November’s controversial ouster of former president Robert Mugabe.

Drawing comparisons with the 2009-2013 inclusive government, Moyo said, “Unlike during the GNU where our socio-economic situation changed overnight, this time the only thing that’s new is the President; everything (else) remains the same.”

Data from the labour body indicates that only 6% of the country’s population is formally employed.

“The jobs were informalised long back. The available statistics are that 94% of working man and women are in the informal sector,” said Moyo.

Painting a hopeless picture for the proletariat, he added, “There is nothing the poor can do except to await the rains. The fortunate ones skipped the border for greener pastures.”

The ZCTU secretary general said, after 37 years of independence, the government has failed to improve the plight of workers.

“In the early years of our independence, the government was clearly socialist-oriented, and they put in place various mechanisms to protect jobs. However, after the introduction of ESAP, everything just went haywire.

“Again, with the empowerment thrust over the past few years, everyone in government is now an employer and these are the people we expect to intervene on our behalf.”