Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Zimbabwe Government Revives May Day Commemorations
April 28, 2016
Felex Share Senior Reporter
Zimbabwe Herald

Government will this year revive Workers’ Day commemorations amid indications that it is organising events bringing together trade unions and their members countrywide. Workers’ Day is celebrated on May 1 the world over.

The day had lost lustre over the years in Zimbabwe, with a few people attending the commemorations due to politicisation of trade unionism.

The country’s two largest workers representatives, the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions have aligned themselves to the two main political parties — Zanu-PF and MDC-T.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira yesterday said Government sought to re-establish links with workers by bringing them together to better appreciate their concerns.

She said a number of Cabinet ministers would take part in this year’s commemorations to hear for themselves workers’ grievances.

“Government wants the best for the workers and we are going back to the old days when Government used to organise the Workers’ Day,” she said.

“We are going to have a big gathering for the workers and they will dominate the proceedings, presenting their grievances.

“We also want to see which sectors are not being paid and there will be Ministers listening to the challenges faced by the workers. We will give every union the platform. In short, Government is re-establishing links with the workers.”

The celebrations have provisionally been slated for Rufaro Stadium in Harare.

Minister Mupfumira said genuine trade unions should be apolitical.

“We are in the process of finalising further labour reforms and I need them all and every worker is invited,” she said.

“Some people purporting to represent them are not talking to them and this is their chance to be heard. We want to celebrate the worker whom we are saying should find a voice.”

ZFTU secretary general, Mr Kennias Shamuyarira, welcomed the development saying it was agreed on three months ago.

“It is something we are aware of,” he said. “We agreed, together with the ZCTU, that it is noble that as workers, we should converge as we have one common agenda and destiny. The same concerns that befall ZFTU are the same that befall ZCTU. We are looking forward to such a day. Our mandate comes from the workers who are the stockholders of the labour centres.”

He added: “The Minister must see all the workers across the divide and address them. Whether we are in attendance as leaders is something else but the workers must be addressed and get Government position, at the same time airing their grievances. This is a past practice that had been negated to the backburner. Since Independence Government used to call all the workers and declare the minimum wages, it was the job of the Minister, which to us is very paramount. It is only Zimbabwe that does not have a national minimum wage. This has caused haphazard salary scales across the industrial spectrum in our country because we do not have a working a yardstick.”

Mr Shamuyarira said the National Employment Councils, which were setting the minimum wage, were not uniform.

“There are elitists, capitalists, liberals, revolutionaries in them and it is a free for all,” he said.

“And this is the starting point to get back to normal. We are working with progressive unions to ensure the Minister addresses the workers and she must bring with her Cabinet Ministers to hear workers speak.”

ZCTU secretary general, Mr Japhet Moyo, said they had already made plans to have their main commemorations at Gwanzura Stadium.

“We are at an advanced stage and we have a programme which we cannot now abandon at this stage,” he said.

“They (Government) cannot be responsible for our own activity. We always invite the Minister of Labour to give a keynote address. It is only last year that the Minister of Labour did not turn up.”

No comments: