Letter from FNV to Dutch Ambassador

Aan de Nederlandse Ambassadeur in Zimbabwe,
mevrouw Barbara van Hellemond

Datum 18 januari 2019

Beste mevrouw Van Hellemond,

De FNV wil graag haar bezorgdheid uiten over het toenemende geweld van de overheid in Zimbabwe tegen de recente protesten van burgers, waaronder vertegenwoordigers van vakbonden en maatschappelijke organisaties.
Zoals u weet, zijn deze demonstraties georganiseerd naar aanleiding van de jongste economische maatregelen van de Zimbabwaanse overheid, o.a. prijsverhogingen van goederen en brandstof, waardoor de verdiensten van de werkenden alleen nog maar toereikend zijn voor het transport.
De kosten voor levensonderhoud zijn inmiddels onbetaalbaar. In reactie op de protesten, hebben we vernomen dat het leger bezig is om alle leiders van de Zimbabwaanse vakcentrale, ZCTU, op te zoeken in hun huizen om hen op te pakken.
Het kantoor van ZCTU is afgesloten en een deel van het gebouw van MDC, is naar verluid, afgebrand. Onze collega’s van de ZCTU rapporteren al langer een escalatie van geweld onder de nieuwe regering van Zimbabwe, waarbij tijdens de laatste acties dus zelfs met scherp geschoten is, wat geleid heeft tot de dood van minstens twee demonstranten. Vele mensen zijn gearresteerd en opgepakt.
De ITUC (Internationale Vereniging van Vakbonden, waar de ZCTU net als de FNV bij is aangesloten) heeft verschillende berichten binnengekregen over gewonde demonstranten, nadat ze deelnamen aan de nationale protestacties. Dit zijn recente voorbeelden van openlijke en gewelddadige onderdrukking door de overheid, die echter onderdeel zijn van systematische aanvallen op de werknemersrechten.
Namens de FNV, met meer dan een miljoen leden, doe ik een beroep op uw medewerking om uw invloed aan te wenden om aan deze crisissituatie een eind te maken.
We vragen u om druk te zetten op de regering Mnangagwa om de gevangenen te bevrijden en in dialoog te treden met de ZCTU en met andere mensenrechtenverdedigers, om zo een eind te maken aan de economische en humanitaire crisissituatie in het land.

Met vriendelijke groet,
Tuur Elzinga Vicevoorzitter FNV

11 January 2019 
For immediate release      
         PRESS RELEASE

RE: ZCTU GIVES GOVERNMENT ULTIMATUM TO SOLVE PRICE HIKE MADNESS

Today the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) wrote to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Dr Sekai Nzenza, on the need to address the current hardships facing workers and Zimbabweans in general due to escalating prices of goods and services or face a crippling national strike.

The Minister was given seven days to intervene, failure of which the labour body would mobilise Zimbabweans into national strike.

Of great concern to the ZCTU are the shocking massive price hikes that have affected almost every basic commodity, worsening the plight of the already struggling masses of Zimbabwe. Most workers, who earn an average of $300 per month, are now resorting to walk to their workplaces as they can no longer afford transport fares. 

The ZCTU  demands include:
-       The introduction of  measures that curtail the current price hike
madness
-       Scraping off the 2 cents tax on every dollar transacted as it has
impoverished Zimbabweans 
-       Workers be paid in United States Dollars

We are also calling on all Zimbabweans and other likeminded organisations to wait for the 7 days after which the form of the action would be announced.
This is a fight by Zimbabwe against suffering and the ZCTU is prepared to take leadership in the fight against poverty.


Japhet Moyo
SECRETARY-GENERAL

The worker October 2018

The new issue of the Worker you can find here

ZCTU leaders who were arrested in Harare on 11 October 2018 have been
released on $50 bail each. They will appear in Court on 30 October 2018.
Thank you all for your support!!!

Information Department
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)

Zim protests: Police armed with truncheons, guns, teargas canisters patrolling streets in Harare

Zimbabwe police arrested trade union leaders and scores of activists nationwide on Thursday ahead of planned marches over the country's worsening economic crisis, lawyers said.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights spokesperson Kumbirai Mafunda told AFP that Peter Mutasa, president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) - the country's largest trade union - was among those detained, along with activists in three major towns.

Mutasa had called for protests in Harare on Thursday despite a police ban on public gatherings in the capital due to a recent cholera outbreak.

ZCTU planned a national strike to protest against sharp price hikes, a new tax on electronic transactions and daily shortages ranging from fuel to bread as Zimbabwe's economy endures a fresh bout of chaos.

"I confirm the arrests of ZCTU president Mutasa and secretary general (Japhet) Moyo at their offices and scores of other unionists in Harare, Masvingo and Mutare," Mafunda told AFP.

"The constitution provides for the right to demonstrate and petition."

'Zimbabweans are suffering' 

Scuffles erupted as police arrested the ZCTU leaders after they addressed a crowd outside the unions' headquarters in the capital.

Before his arrest, a defiant Mutasa told journalists: "We are demonstrating peacefully against hardships. We are here to make the authorities know that Zimbabweans are suffering."

Large numbers of police were on duty in Harare armed with truncheons, guns and teargas canisters while water cannon trucks were parked on some streets.

Zimbabwe's moribund economy has hit new lows in recent days with shops struggling to stock shelves, medicine running out and long queues outside petrol stations.

The local "bond note" currency, which in theory has the same value as the US dollar, has been in freefall in recent weeks, raising fears of a return to the hyper-inflation that wrecked national finances in 2009.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took power last year after Robert Mugabe was ousted by the military, has vowed to ensure essential daily goods are available.