OVER the past three weeks, since the Supreme Court ruled on July 17 that companies could send workers home on three-months’ notice, workers have had front-row seats into the kind of hypocritical representation they have by way of trade unions.
Government, naturally concerned about the wanton sackings of staff by several companies, convened an indaba with its two social partners, employers and labour, to find common ground on amendments to the Labour Act in order to protect workers from the ongoing wave of dismissals.
ZCTU was in no show at the meeting suffice to say workers had to be represented by one half of their fractured movement, the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions.
ZCTU later made its submissions in the face of heavy criticism from irate workers and concerned stakeholders but their absence at the indaba was hardly surprising going by precedent.
ZCTU has long thrown its lot with the MDC-T’s regime change agenda.
Since its formation, the MDC-T, that was launched on a ZCTU platform has not made it a secret that it subscribes to the thinking behind the West’s sanctions regime that was aptly captured by the then US assistant secretary of state for African affairs Chester Crocker during hearings for the US sanctions law, Zdera, where he said: “To separate the Zimbabwean people from Zanu-PF, we are going to have to make their economy scream, and I hope you, senators, have the stomach for what you have to do.”
And the economy did scream since the passage of the sanctions law culminating in the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar in 2008. The regime change agenda is evident in the way ZCTU has approached the ongoing labour crisis.
Instead of joining hands with Government in urging employers to exercise restraint while the Labour Act is being reviewed, ZCTU has announced plans to embark on demonstrations against the Supreme Court ruling and Government! That stance is not only surprising, but stupid for a number of reasons chief among them ZCTU’s failure to understand that the Supreme Court just interpreted the law, they did not make it.
If ZCTU was a bona fide labour movement not an appendage of the MDC, it would have picked the loopholes in the Labour Act and agitated for its reform.
Secondly, ZCTU was also complicit in authoring the ongoing labour crisis.
We should never be ahistoric in understanding the prevailing economic problems that were spawned by the MDC-T/ZCTU alliance’s call for and support for the West’s ruinous sanctions regime that contracted the economy by a factor of over 40 percent in addition to costing the country over $42 billion in lost revenue since the turn of the millennium. Sanctions, which the ZCTU/MDC alliance abetted with ruinous job stayaways-cum-lockouts in collusion with some reactionary employers.
Thirdly, Government has not sent any workers home as the welfare of Government employees falls under the purview of the Public Service Act.
Thus the ZCTU, if it was sincere, would see Government as a partner and direct its protests at the private sector that has sent many of the ZCTU’s own constituency home. This is not the time for cheap politicking, livelihoods are at stake.
We hope workers will rescue their union from wannabe politicians.