Mavima Warns ‘Pro-Regime Change’ Unionists  

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By Alois Vinga

LABOUR Minister Paul Mavima has warned trade unionists abusing their responsibilities and opting to push for regime change in Zimbabwe, and hinted stern measures would be enforced to stop the double standards.

The minister made the threats after the United Kingdom (UK) Commonwealth Minister Tariq Mahmood Ahmad admitted his country was in ongoing consultations with trade unionists in Zimbabwe over poor working conditions.

Ahmad’s confessions, made last month, have angered the Zimbabwe government, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Said Ahmad: “We certainly have been meeting in Harare with various (workers’) unions, including teaching unions, most recently in September 2021 on salaries and the impact of Covid1-9. Trade unions form an important part of civil society in any country, and we engage with them at all levels,” he said.

However, speaking to this week, on the sidelines of the Tripartite Negotiation Forum (TNF) workshop underway in Victoria Falls, Mavima dismissed the unions’ defence to Ahmad’s statement, who denied holding consultations with the UK government.

“In actual fact, we do not need any other confirmation than what Ahmad has said. It is enough evidence. We do not stand against anyone’s political ambitions, but we are simply against the habit of politicians masquerading as trade unionists,” he said.

“All we want is constructive dialogue on labour issues. Unionists are free to join political parties as opposed to mixing the two. We will soon be dealing with that matter.”

Meanwhile, Mavima said the TNF meeting in Victoria Falls aimed at deliberating on a number of issues aimed at carrying out a diagnosis of the social dialogue platform.

“We need to re-strategise and rejuvenate the social dialogue in Zimbabwe. The TNF must be positioned to take the lead in deliberating on socio-economic issues bedevilling the country. It must serve its sole purpose as a platform for the exchange of constructive ideas,” he said.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general, Japhet Moyo also hailed the TNF workshop for committing to transform the platform, and breaking the mistrust between business, labour and the government.

“The objective of the workshop is to improve the efficiency of the TNF. A strong view also expressed by all partners was on the need to establish an independent secretariat in order to enable all the partners to approach the platform on an equal footing,” he said.