Work­ers must re­claim ZCTU

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Comment & Opinion -

THIS week the lead­ers of the Zim­babwe Congress of Trade Unions called for demon­stra­tions against the Govern­ment that failed to ma­te­ri­alise af­ter work­ers ig­nored the sus­pi­cious tim­ing and mo­tives of the pro­posed in­dus­trial ac­tion, and chose to pro­ceed with their day-to-day busi­ness.

The demon­stra­tion had also not been sanc­tioned by the po­lice, which is why the 100 peo­ple, in­clud­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s seven lead­ers who tried to demon­strate, were ar­rested for tak­ing part in an un­sanc­tioned gath­er­ing.

We salute all Zim­bab­weans who ig­nored the self-serv­ing call by the ZCTU for their pro­gres­sive­ness.

This is not to say we hate the ZCTU. Far from it. We are also work­ers in the me­dia and keen on bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions and ad­e­quate re­mu­ner­a­tion.

But we never be­lieved that the pro­posed ZCTU demon­stra­tion was for our ben­e­fit. It was clear that the labour lead­ers were out to serve a po­lit­i­cal agenda as they have con­sis­tently done since the launch of the MDC on Septem­ber 11 1999.

Over the years, the ZCTU has tried to use the cover of trade union­ism to abet the MDC cause, of course mouthing the usual plat­i­tudes of eco­nomic hard­ships.

But work­ers have not been fooled, es­pe­cially since the trend of ZCTU ac­tions since the MDC was launched in 1999 is to tar­get only one em­ployer -the Govern­ment - as if the pri­vate sec­tor does not ex­ist.

More so the “griev­ances” ad­vanced to jus­tify the pro­posed demon­stra­tion fall un­der the purview of the Tri­par­tite Ne­go­ti­at­ing Fo­rum, which the ZCTU con­tin­ues to sab­o­tage and be­fore which it should nat­u­rally ta­ble the al­leged gripes.

Demon­stra­tions, mass ac­tions, strikes, or stay­aways, by na­ture, are co­er­cive mea­sures that should only be adopted af­ter ev­ery­thing else fails to achieve the de­sired end.

Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa has con­sis­tently made it clear that he is a lis­ten­ing Pres­i­dent, his Govern­ment is open to en­gag­ing all stake­hold­ers on mat­ters of con­cern.

If the ZCTU was re­ally con­cerned about the wel­fare of work­ers, they would give di­a­logue with Govern­ment a chance be­cause as far as the wel­fare of work­ers is con­cerned, di­a­logue un­der the aus­pices of the TNF is an op­tion that has not been used, which is why we were sur­prised at the ZCTU’s lead­er­ship’s fix­a­tion with the con­fronta­tional route.

We are sure many work­ers saw this as well. We are re­minded of the words for­mer ZCTU boss, and MDC found­ing leader, the late Mor­gan Ts­van­gi­rai, ut­tered at a ZCTU congress in 2001 where he said:

“The ZCTU is the soul of the MDC and if you re­move the soul, the party will die. We are one with you and what we have done with the for­ma­tion of the MDC is to merely de­ploy some of our men at an­other point. You have given us at the po­lit­i­cal front, a bat­tle to fight and it is a strug­gle that we ab­so­lutely can­not af­ford to fail whether as MDC or ZCTU.’’ Need we say more? In light of the ZCTU’s con­tin­ued fail­ure to ad­vo­cate labour is­sues, and ap­par­ent fix­a­tion with pol­i­tics, we would like to urge work­ers to re­claim their or­gan­i­sa­tion.

They must re­lieve in­cum­bent ZCTU pres­i­dent Peter Mu­tasa and sec­re­tary-gen­eral Japhet Moyo and com­pany of the trade union hats so they can join full-time pol­i­tics.

It is high time peo­ple with the con­cerns of work­ers in par­tic­u­lar, and the na­tion in gen­eral took the reins at the ZCTU.

To this end, we would also like to urge the Min­is­ter of Pub­lic Ser­vice, Labour and So­cial Wel­fare, Dr Sekai Nzenza, and other par­ties to the TNF to se­ri­ously con­sider the long­stand­ing pro­posal by Con­cerned ZCTU Af­fil­i­ates who want so­cial part­ners to cir­cum­vent the ZCTU to di­rectly en­gage af­fil­i­ate unions.

That is the only way the real con­cerns of the work­ers can be ad­dressed, since the cur­rent labour lead­er­ship no longer rep­re­sents work­ers.

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