Workers yesterday ignored calls for an hour-long lunchtime demonstration by the opposition-aligned Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) meant to push the Government to reverse its policy stipulating the Zimbabwe dollar as the official currency.
This came after Zimbabweans last month ignored calls by opposition leaders for illegal demonstrations to destabilise the country.
ZCTU recently instructed its 33 affiliates to mobilise workers for hour-long lunchtime demonstrations to be staged at all workplaces across the country starting yesterday.
Workers in various industrial sites and other work stations were seen jostling to get their lunch time refreshments and going about their daily routines.
“We can’t have our time and energy used by those who have selfish desires. We have families to look after and we cannot engage in these so-called lunch hour protests.
“Lunch hour is an opportunity for us to take a rest and refresh before we finish the day’s production not this protest call from ZCTU,” said Mr Ian Chirisa, a worker at a plastic manufacturing company in Graniteside, Harare.
The Government over the weekend said the call for lunch hour protests by ZCTU had nothing to do with improving the welfare of employees.
Speaking to an online publication, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said the protests were meant to prop-up the political agenda of opposition parties.
“What is the motive behind the demonstrations? Workers must dissociate themselves from such industrial actions being organised by labour leaders who have chosen to renege on their responsibility to advance workers issues and instead pursue an opposition political agenda,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) yesterday castigated ZCTU calls for lunch hour protests, saying it was a ploy by the opposition to destabilise the country’s production.
“Given the situation in the country and the goals being set by Government, we cannot afford to disturb production by an hour. These calls to demonstrate are mere tactics by detractors to destabilise the country through production,” said ZFTU secretary-general Mr Kennias Shamuyarira.
Mr Shamuyarira said the private sector should follow the Government’s lead in cushioning workers. He added that Government should start investigating private companies accused of invoicing and charging in US dollars, but receipting in Zimbabwean dollars, thereby depriving Treasury of millions of dollars in foreign currency tax revenue.