Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)s’ continuous calls for protests in the country have been exposed as a way of trying to position the body for the UNI Global Union’s Breaking Through Award, which comes with a US$200 000 prize money.
Awarded in Switzerland, the Breaking Through Award is aimed at recognising trade unions from around the world that have recorded “exceptional victories” in union density and mobilisations.
ZCTU has been planning to mobilise workers for a mass stayaway countrywide and last week, a planned protest flopped.
The Herald has it on good authority that over the weekend, the ZCTU held a general council meeting at Gorlon House in Harare to chart the way forward after they failed to get a positive response from their members.
The meeting was attended by over 30 officials who agreed to meet again tomorrow.
“They have since seen that they are failing to mobilise both the people and the workers and have resolved that they want to move around Harare addressing people, especially the youths,” said a source who attended the meeting.
“They have identified six areas that is Mabvuku, Highfield, Epworth, Chitungwiza, Dzivarasekwa and the Central Business District with the hope of conducting the stayaway month end.
“ZCTU president Mr Peter Mutasa encouraged members to remain focused in light of the Breaking Through Award. The funding gap has made it necessary to fight for the prize money.”
The ZCTU has also failed to get funding from the International Labour Organisation and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), an organisation based in Germany.
The two organisations recently informed the ZCTU leadership that they were not going to fund any violent protests in the country, but only issues to do with peace building and dialogue.
Reached for comment Mr Mutasa said: “UNI awards have always been there for many years now, probably since 2012. A Zimbabwean union CWUZ (Commercial Workers Union of Zimbabwe) got some of these awards before.
“There is nothing special about these awards that the whole ZCTU will focus on that. ZCTU is not even an affiliate of UNI, ZIBAWU (Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union) is the affiliate of UNI. ZCTU has no relationship with UNI serve that they share affiliates.”
Mr Mutasa revealed that he was set to get a UNI Global Union award for “freedom from fear”.
“For your information, l have already been awarded a UNI freedom from fear award and only await its handing over sometime at the ceremony end of year,” he said.
“This was awarded without ZIBAWU nominating me, but through a decision of other unions in other countries.
“So, how can the call for better salaries be for something that has already occurred?”
Over the weekend, Mr Mutasa was quoted in the local media alleging that the ZCTU was being pushed by the workers who felt that they had no choice other than to protest in order for their voices to be heard.
In May, the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) pulled out of the ZCTU, accusing the umbrella labour representative body of continuously dabbling in opposition politics, undermining the cause of workers.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa recently said Government had noted with concern the subversive messages circulating on social media inciting people to disturb the prevailing peace and stability by engaging in illegal activities such as looting, burning property and assaulting people going to work.