ZCTU bemoans wage theft ahead of May 1 commemorations

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By Alois Vinga

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has bemoaned rising wage theft and deteriorating working conditions rocking the nation ahead of the 2022 year’s Workers Day commemorations.

Speaking to ahead of this year’s event, ZCTU’s national organiser, Michael Kandukutu said the local commemorations will be held under the theme, “Restoration of Workers Dignity”, a theme inspired by the continued rise in wage theft.

He said wage theft is now deeply entrenched in most of the economic sectors as its ugly head continues to manifest through non- payment of deserving salaries, overtime, leave days  accrued and non- payment of terminal benefits among other forms.

The remarks come at a time when the majority of Zimbabwean workers are paid salaries way below the Total Consumption Poverty Lines despite the ever rising cost of living.

“In crafting this year’s theme, with the main even penciled to take place at Dzivarasekwa stadium, there is realisation that workers standard of living have ghastly gone down, owing to the slave wages that they are earning on the back of the prevailing environment which is not conducive for collective bargaining.

“There can be no meaningful collective bargaining when workers do not have the right to strike. Some may argue that but we do have the right to strike in the Constitution, however, a close look will show you that the Labor Act Chapter 28:01 and other enabling pieces of legislation have not been realigned to the constitution and thus opens up workers to the kind of abuse that we are seeing today,” he said.

He questioned the rationale behind working for Zimbabwe dollars in a wholly dollarised economy and underscored that the past year had been one of the most difficult for workers due to Covid19 induced hardships which effectively sacrificed labor rights.

“You will note that our economic is now based on two clear classes that is the rich and the poor. There is no more middle class to talk about in this country, the only class that has registered quick growth is that of the working poor who increasingly find it difficult to move out of poverty,” said Kandukutu.

He said the other unfortunate observation over the past five years has been the entrenchment of working women and youths into deeper poverty.

“Policies and practices have worked against the working women, while the world is progressing we seem to be experiencing a regression. Hence our theme and unequivocal demand for the restoration of Workers Dignity,” he added.

The world over , Workers Day is commemorated on the first of May each year and is seized as an opportunity to reflect on struggles and achievements made by the working class.