New Zimbabwe.com

Poor May Day attendance, forces ZCTU to turn rally into clean-up campaign

 By Matabeleland North Correspondent


WORKERS in Hwange and Victoria Falls, shunned the May Day celebrations organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), forcing the labour federation’s regional officials to turn the event into a clean-up around the resort town.

Less than 50 people turned up in Victoria Falls and there was an almost similar turnout in Hwange, where a speech from the national leadership and solidarity messages were supposed to be delivered.

Organisers however, ended up leading a clean-up where they picked litter at the Victoria Falls bus rank.

ZCTU officials acknowledged that the economic meltdown had watered down the event which used to attract thousands of workers and ordinary citizens who would fill stadia countrywide.

In an interview on the sidelines of the Victoria Falls event, ZCTU Hwange district chairman Jethro Tshabalala said morale is very low among workers.

“We are now looking at next year, as we acknowledge factors that came into play such as bitterness among people which has resulted in them taking this day as a waste of time.

“Some even feel the union is not helping in any way. What we need as a country is job creation because even membership and contributions have gone down,” Tshabalala said.

ZCTU western region chair Ambrose Sibindi said activities had been lined up in Hwange, and Victoria Falls for Matabeleland North, while in Matabeleland South the main event was at Collen Bawn, with Cement Site and Stanley Square hosting the Bulawayo events.
Sibindi bemoaned the state of the economy arguing it had negatively affected workers citing poor salaries, rampaging prices of basic commodities and the current currency exchange rates.

“Our demand is very clear, we are saying people should be paid in United States dollars because exchange rates and prices are changing daily. We also call on government to be sensitive on taxation because people are heavily taxed especially after the introduction of the 2 percent tax,” he said.

Sibindi called for reactivation of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum saying its key in addressing workers’ plight.

Victoria Falls and Hwange are dominated by tourism and hospitality sector workers unlike other towns whose majority are civil servants