ITUC Index removes Zimbabwe from world’s ten worst countries for workers

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By Alois Vinga

THE International Trade Union Confederation’s (ITUC) 2022 Global Rights index has removed Zimbabwe from the category of ten worst countries for workers.

The development signifies an improvement from the ten worst countries ranking which Zimbabwe was tagged under for more than three years.

The Index classifies countries’ performance under six categories from 1 to 5+ with the increase in numbers signifying the bad state of performance.

Over the years Zimbabwe has been a part of the ten worst countries in the last grade of 5+ before being slightly elevated to category 5 this year, signifying an improvement by one step. Countries rated in category 5 are those which do not guarantee labour rights.

In contrast, category 5+ are those countries without any guarantee of labour rights due to the breakdown in the rule of law.

Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) executive director, Nester Mukweva hailed the slight improvement as a step in the right direction.

“As employers representatives we are delighted by the elevation, which despite being a single step signifies that the work we are doing is somehow transforming the situation.

“We hope to continue doing better as a country in the coming years and we urge other parties in labour matters to address any issues of concern locally as opposed to washing our dirty linen at international platforms,” she said.

The developments fly in the face of discontent among the country’s workers with civil servants this week rejecting a 100% salary increase offer dangled by the government.

This week, the Finance Ministry’s permanent secretary , George Guvamatanga accused civil servants and trade union leaders of deliberately misrepresenting the true state of salaries being paid by the government.

“We have noted that unions representing civil servants deliberately avoid mentioning that apart from the ZW$30 000 or so salary we are paying them there is also a US$175 being paid which when rated against the official rate is above the current Total Consumption Poverty Line,” he said.

But the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general, Japhet Moyo disputed the ITUC findings arguing they are not reflective of the true state of affairs on the ground.

“We do not think Zimbabwe has improved. I think focus must not be placed on this year’s category. Issues affecting workers have not changed . Notably, the environment has become even more tense making it difficult to stage demonstrations in the last two years.

“The recent arrest of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) leader Obert Masaraure on questionable charges is a case in point  showing how tense the environment is. I think the flow of information regarding the state of Zimbabwe to the ITUC was not as efficient as it was in the past years,” he said.