BULAWAYO – Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) western region chairman Ambrose Sibindi has called on government to address poor working conditions affecting the country’s hard-pressed labour force.
Speaking to journalists during Workers Day commemorations at the Small City Hall in Bulawayo Tuesday, Sibindi said Zimbabwean workers are saddled with myriad challenges which include oppressive labour laws and rampant corruption.
“In Zimbabwe, I want to be clear that we are not celebrating Workers Day today; we are only commemorating the day,” he said.
“We are not celebrating because, as workers, we are facing a lot of challenges.
“We are in poverty, our salaries are slave salaries, and our laws are very oppressive in terms of the Labour Act.
“In short, we are not enjoying anything. All that we can say is that workers demand an inclusive Zimbabwe; free from poverty, corruption and oppression.”
The trade union leader condemned and further urged the arrest of some corrupt individuals recently implicated in an Al Jazeera ‘Gold Mafia’ documentary.
“As workers, we believe that our serious challenge is corruption.
“This country is very rich in terms of natural resources but because some people are looting, that is why we find ourselves with challenges.
“As workers, we want all those who were mentioned in the scandal to be arrested and tried.
“However, those people are still free and happy.
“They are saying a lot of things indicating they do not even care; that is a serious challenge and some people have demanded that this government must resign as it has failed to protect resources.”
He said the country should amend the “oppressive” Labour Act.
“When we are talking about oppression, we are talking about laws that we think are not giving us space to express ourselves; for instance, when things are not going right and we want to demonstrate.
“We are told to apply here and there and do many other things. All this is to silence us and that is oppression.
“However, as workers, whatever the case, we will move forward, we are going to push our issues.”