11 January 2019
For immediate 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
- Scraping off the 2 cents tax on every dollar transacted as it has
- 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.
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!!!
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.
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