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ZCTU plans wage protests

Tendai Mukandi

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), a labour umbrella body, has reiterated calls for mass protests to press for realistic wages aligned with the

current inflation figures.

Wellington Chibebe, the secretary-general of ZCTU, in an interview this week said workers had opted to protest after negotiations involving the government and business for new wages linked to Zimbabwe’s galloping inflation failed.

“This decision is a follow-up to a congress resolution and will only come to pass if the employers do not budge… The poverty datum line is increasing by the day,” Chibhebhe said.

“We are busy making consultations and no date or model of the strike has been made but the workforce is raring to go if their plight is not addressed.”

The work boycott threat comes as the Zimbabwean economy continue its downslide with inflation now at 1193,5% and the breadbasket for an average family standing at $55 million dollars a month.

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has already threatened mass protests to force President Robert Mugabe to accept dialogue for a new constitution.

Asked whether the ZCTU was going to join forces with the opposition, Chibhebhe said the labour body was only trying to implement the goals reached at the congress.

“The MDC called for protests in their own capacity as a party and we are organising protests as workers,” he said.

Eric Bloch, an economist, said that protests can have significant impact on the economy but was doubtful if the protests would take place.

“Although their plight can be understood, the demands of labour cannot be met by placing businesses into liquidation,” Bloch said.

ZCTU has not given a date for the planned protest.

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