Business Development

Majority of workers live far below the Poverty Datum Line: Crisis Coalition

ZCTU President, Peter Moyo

On International Workers’ Day (May 1, 2021), the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is calling upon the government of Zimbabwe to show sincerity and urgently address the plight of workers who continue to live far below the Poverty Datum Line.

The coalition notes with huge concern the fact that the government has over the years displayed insincerity in engaging with trade unions on the issue of a living wage for workers.

It said it is disturbing to note that the government has chosen to criminalize trade unionism and responded with brute force to genuine calls by trade unionists for a living wage.

In many instances, trade unionists have endured lengthy periods in detention while some have been abducted and assaulted by state security agents for calling for a living wage.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) President, Peter Mutasa has been labelled an enemy of the state for challenging the paltry salaries being awarded to workers by the government.

Mutasa is a victim of state harassment and persecution by prosecution.

His case is similar to that of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) leaders, Robson Chere and Obert Masaraure who have also been victims of arbitrary arrests and abductions at the hands of state security agents.

Due to the government’s failure to address the plight of workers, critical sectors such as health and education have been plunged into a serious crisis as workers continue with job actions.

Consequently, the ordinary citizens, already suffering from the effects of a failed economy, have had to bear the brunt of the crisis within these critical sectors.

It is in light of this challenge that the Crisis Coalition calls upon Zimbabweans to join the fight by trade unions for a living wage.

“We implore the government of Zimbabwe to desist from persecuting trade unions but rather engage in an honest dialogue with workers’ representatives. In the same vein, we urge workers’ representatives to speak with one voice and not fall prey to the divide and rule tactics being implemented by the government.

“As we commemorate International Workers’ Day, we implore the government of Zimbabwe to urgently implement reforms aimed at resuscitating the economy given the fact that the country’s unemployment rate stands at 90 percent while the Covid 19 pandemic has worsened the situation for citizens trying to eke a living from the informal sector,” the Crisis Coalition said.

On another note, the Crisis Coalition also called upon employers within the private sector to ensure that workers’ salaries are fixed in line with the Poverty Datum Line.

Crisis Coalition urges the government of Zimbabwe to:

  1. i)Stop the persecution of trade unionists for demanding a living wage
  2. ii)Engage in honest discussions with trade unions over the issue of a living wage for workers

iii)            Ensure that workers get a living wage that is in line with the Poverty Datum Line

  1. iv)Urgently implement reforms aimed at resuscitating the economy and attracting investments

About the author

Byron Adonis Mutingwende