Zimbabwe has commemorated Workers Day, amid an albatross of recent price hikes of basic goods and services which have put a strain on the pockets of the workers, leading the government to call on businesses to exercise restraint on raising prices.
The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Dr Sekai Nzenza said it is sad that for Zimbabwe the day comes in the wake of recent price hikes which if they persist, there will be no ultimate winner as workers revert to business asking for more and eventually, a vicious cycle of price hikes and salary increments is created.
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Parallel commemorations of the day, organised Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU), were hijacked by the MDC Alliance leadership, turning it into a political rally.As if the country’s workforce knew what the ZCTU had in store for them, the event at Dzivarasekwa Stadium in Harare was poorly attended.
A government representative, a Director in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Mr Langton Ngorima told the workers that while the country is faced with array of economic challenges including price hikes, plans are at an advanced stage to kick-start the Tripartite Negotiation Forum, which brings the workers representatives and the government to iron out challenges bedeviling the workers.
“The government is ready to engage the workers’ representatives, so that they bring the workers plight on the table and find win-win solutions,” he said.
ZCTU President, Peter Mutasa appreciated the tripartite social contract by the government as the way to go, but went on an overdrive, threatening strikes if civil servants are not paid in US dollars.
“We accept the TNF but too on our agenda will be for the government to pay workers a minimum wage of US$600 or else we will be back on the streets,” he said.
What started as workers days later turned into a political rally when MDC leader, Nelson Chamisa and party supporters came wearing party regalia and chanting party slogans.