By Alois Vinga
THE UNITED States ambassador to Zimbabwe has urged the administration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to respect labour rights if the country’s quest to achieve the desired prosperity is to see daylight.
In a statement this after meeting Labour Minister Paul Mavima, US ambassador Brian Nichols said in the meeting, he encouraged the government to value faithful negotiations.
“I met with Labour Minister Mavima to encourage government and labour leaders to negotiate in good faith,” said Nichols.
“Respect for workers’ rights will help create a more prosperous Zimbabwe. We look forward to working with the ministry to eliminate child labour in tobacco and sugar cane farming. Children need education to thrive,” he said.
The remarks come when Zimbabwe is experiencing its worst labour crisis in a decade.
Public health workers recently returned to work after a three months long strike while teachers embarked on industrial action this week after schools reopened complaining of poor salaries and working conditions.
The country’s leading workers federation, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has since instructed its affiliate members to mobilise workers for lunch hour demonstrations demanding better pay and working conditions.
The workers’ group has also criticised the government of neglecting the workers.
Commenting on the engagement between Minister Mavima and Ambassador Nichols, the ZCTU president, Peter Mutasa said the meeting would not achieve much since the labour minister had no power or say in the country’s governance.
“In a military state there is no social dialogue or good faith bargaining so nothing will change from that discussion until the real powers running the country change course. Workers must continue to mobilise and use their collective power to demand that change,” he said.