By Alois Vinga
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has resolved to proceed with a planned stayaway on a date to be announced despite death threats allegedly directed at its leaders this past week.
The decision to proceed with the job action was reached at on Saturday by the labour group’s meeting by General Council members.
In a statement Saturday, ZCTU secretary general Japhet Moyo confirmed the meeting resolved to brave possible State backlash in the workers’ bid to secure living wages.
“The ZCTU’s General Council, the highest decision making body in between congress, met today 20 July 2019 to receive reports on the state of preparedness towards action against poverty, the deteriorating and unstable macro-economic environment,” said Moyo.
ZCTU president Peter Mutasa and Moyo last week said they received bullets and letters threatening them with death if they went ahead with the stay-away.
The main labour group has had run-ins with the cohesive arms of the state recently for organising demonstrations against poor wages and living conditions.
A stayaway called by the group and some citizen movements January this year erupted into a countrywide looting orgy by citizens, scenes that invited a brutal military response leading to the death of at least 17 in the hands of the State.
ZCTU leaders were later arrested and charged with subversion with the charges still pending.
Since the time, ZCTU has taken a cautious stance when organising for demonstrations and has kept everything under wraps.
However, the labour group’s leaders on Saturday took another defiant stance, vowing to proceed with the job action.
Said Moyo, “The general council reiterated its call for wages and salaries to be paid in United States dollars or its equivalent at the obtaining interbank exchange rates.
“They also resolved to continue mobilising and reaffirmed the call for a general strike at a date to be announced soon. We therefore urge all workers to remain ready for the impending stayaway.”
While the ZCTU has been reluctant to reveal dates for the planned stayaway, its leader, Mutasa said recently that they were planning the strike for 22 and 23 July.
On top of their salary demands, the ZCTU wants government to reverse its recent decision to outlaw the use of the multi-currency system and also wants government to pay wages in US dollars.
Government has stuck to its guns but this past week announced a $400 each once-off cushion allowance for all its workers.