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Who are the workers’ real enemy?

ERIC Bloch’s article headed “Labour becoming own worst enemy”, (Zimbabwe Independent, August 13) refers.

While it is true that excessive wage demands, especially

in the context of Zimbabwe’s disastrous economic decline, can impact negatively on the workers themselves, it is an “over the top” statement to suggest that the worker is potentially his own worst enemy.

The worst enemy of the worker in Zimbabwe is the government that has destroyed the economy. Also high up on the list of enemies of the workers are the obscenely greedy businessmen (and women) who have so avariciously aided and abetted the government in its destruction of the economy.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I seem to remember two related stories in the local media a few years ago that perhaps sum up who, apart from the government, should be included among the “worst enemies of the workers”.

Phillip Chiyangwa, businessman, black economic empowerment advocate and Zanu PF politician was, I seem to recall, boasting that he had taken delivery of the very latest Mercedes – “the first of its kind in Africa”.

At about the same time there was another report that a number of workers at one of his acquired businesses, a shoe factory in Bulawayo, were being made redundant because business was bad.

The newspaper report, if I am not mistaken, claimed that the workers were given four pairs of shoes each as redundancy “pay”. I shudder to imagine the workers’ thoughts about Zimbabwe’s version of “black economic empowerment”.

Chiyangwa is not alone of course, but his desire for self-promotion has made him the very public symbol of his “class” and all that it stands for.

Perhaps in a future column Bloch might turn his attention to the levels of remuneration among the business class – both established and emerging.

I will not be surprised to learn that there are huge, socially and economically unjustifiable, disparities between the pay of workers and the salaries of their employers.

No, Mr Bloch, the workers in Zimbabwe are certainly not their “own worst enemies”.

RES Cook


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