Statement by ICFTU
THE International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, the World Confederation of Labour and the European Trade Union Confederation express their firm
support for the leaders and members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
We strongly condemn the completely unwarranted police brutality against ZCTU activists in reaction to the protest demonstrations of September 13. We denounce in particular the ruthless torture inflicted on 15 ZCTU leaders and activists at Harare’s Matapi police station.
We deplore that those who had fought so hard for freedom from an oppressive past now find themselves facing similar retribution from the very people who they believed had delivered them from tyranny. This is not what Zimbabweans fought for; they deserve better.
The international trade union movement calls on the government of Zimbabwe to respect the internationally recognised labour standards it purports to uphold, and to cease all further harassment against ZCTU members and leaders.
As a first step it should drop all criminal charges against the 30 ZCTU activists due to go on trial on October 3. No further legal action should be taken against the ZCTU as a result of the September 13 demonstration. Instead, the situation in Zimbabwe requires the rapid launch of a genuine process of social dialogue with the workers so as to find solutions to the very genuine concerns of the workers.
The Zimbabwean government has consistently violated the fundamental Conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) protecting trade union rights that it freely signed up to. These most
recent incidents, including the very serious injuries sustained by ZCTU leaders while in police custody, are developed in a detailed and very serious complaint against Zimbabwe to be submitted to the ILO.
The international trade union movement is now considering additional steps to increase the pressure on Zimbabwe to respect internationally recognised workers’ rights.
* The ICFTU represents 155 million workers in 241 affiliated organisations in 156 countries and territories.