A showdown looms between government and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) after the labour body has instructed its affiliates to mobilise workers for planned national demonstrations starting next week Monday at all workplaces.
A memorandum containing the instruction, signed by the union’s secretary-general, Japhet Moyo, and addressed to ZCTU’s 33 affiliate unions, says the resolution to stage the protests was reached by the highest decision-making organ, the General Council, at a meeting last month.
“In line with the resolutions, we will be embarking on escalating demonstrations every Monday starting from the 31st of August 2020, to force the government to address the declining socio-economic environment that has adversely affected our membership and demand that all salaries be paid in US$,” read the memo.
The labour group said the industrial action will take place during Monday lunch hours for a start until further instructions are issued.
However, the government has been deploying security services to foil any public demonstrations.
Last month, dozens of people were arrested for planning or taking part in the foiled #31July anti-corruption protests.
The leader of the protests and Transform Zimbabwe president, journalist Hopewell Chin’ono and MDC Alliance Vice-Chairperson Job Sikhala are currently in remand prison over the demonstrations.
They face charges of inciting public violence. Many other political activists are in hiding as state agents hunt them down.
The ZCTU argues the markets have been dollarised hence the need for uniformity in salary payments.
The labour body also argues that since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March, the government has been paying lip service to promises of addressing the impact of the disease on citizens.
“It has failed to provide social assistance, social insurance and to make positive labour market interventions and provide social support and care. It is, therefore, critical for the government to be proactive in order to mitigate the adverse impacts of the pandemic on workers, businesses and citizens,” the union added.