LEADERS of various trade unions on Wednesday described the Government of Zimbabwe as an unrepentant institution which will never respect the rights of trade unions and allow them to stage peaceful demonstrations.
This was said during the Apex council-organised demonstration that failed to kick-off as the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) broke the procession before it even begun.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said the action by government was likely to tarnish President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s reform agenda.
“What we are seeing is an example of a system that is failing to address its problems… President Mnangagwa must be told that these actions are completely unnecessary for his administration, his legacy and reputation. Workers wanted to deliver a petition of their demands, not to a grenade or bomb,” Majongwe said.
Majongwe said government was never going to repent in its dealing with civil servants’ issues and would continue to use the divide and rule tactics to cause anarchy among workers’ representatives.
“The guys we are dealing with are not honest; they will make our leaders unpopular for no reason. We can’t allow a situation where they announce a bonus in the media but when we go to the negotiating table, they deny the offer. That’s unacceptable,” Majongwe added.
Cecilia Alexander, chairperson of the Apex council, said government had been negotiating in bad faith for a very long time and wasting their time, hence could not continue to engage them.
“We resorted to demonstrations after realising that the government has been negotiating in bad faith. We are hurt that they are trying to play around with our minds. At one time they allow us to demonstrate, and then on the ground they deny us that right.”
Alexander said civil servants were incapacitated and continuing to come to work did not mean they were contented.
She also said by stopping the march, government had declared a deadlock as they would no longer negotiate with the employer but use other avenues to demand fair wages.
“We no longer have anywhere to go. We are, therefore, starting a new route. We have been suppressed for a very long time and we have reached a point of no return.”
Obert Masarure, president of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, added that the President was supposed to respect civil servants as they were implementers of all government’s policies.
“President Mnangagwa must respect all the workers as they make government. Failure to pay them accordingly will result in the poor implementation of the policies that this government is pushing to achieve,” Masarure said.
Leaders of the Apex council said they had resolved to withdraw their services until their grievances were resolved.
They said it was no longer business as usual as they would start demonstrations every week.
The Apex council further resolved that they would now engage the International Labour Organisation to mediate between government and its workers. Zim morning post