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Crisis Coalition Statement on International Workers' Day

For Immediate Release April 30, 2021 On International Workers' Day (May 1, 2021), the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition calls upon the government of Zimbabwe to show sincerity and urgently address the plight of workers who continue to live far below the Poverty Datum Line. We note with huge concern the fact that the government has over the years displayed insincerity in engaging with trade unions on the issue of a living wage for workers. It is disturbing to note that the government has chosen to criminalize trade unionism and responded with brute force to genuine calls by trade unionists for a living wage. In many instances, trade unionists have endured lengthy periods in detention while some have been abducted and assaulted by state security agents for calling for a living wage. The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) President, Peter Mutasa has been labeled an enemy of the state for challenging the paltry salaries being awarded to workers by the government. Mutasa is a victim of state harassment and persecution by prosecution. His case is similar to that of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) leaders, Robson Chere and Obert Masaraure who have also been victims of arbitrary arrests and abductions at the hands of state security agents. Due to the government’s failure to address the plight of workers, critical sectors such as health and education have been plunged into a serious crisis as workers continue with job actions. Consequently, the ordinary citizens, already suffering from the effects of a failed economy, have had to bear the brunt of the crisis within these critical sectors. It is in light of this challenge that the Crisis Coalition calls upon Zimbabweans to join the fight by trade unions for a living wage. We implore the government of Zimbabwe to desist from persecuting trade unions but rather engage in an honest dialogue with workers’ representatives. In the same vein, we urge workers’ representatives to speak with one voice and not fall prey to the divide and rule tactics being implemented by the government. As we commemorate International Workers' Day, we implore the government of Zimbabwe to urgently implement reforms aimed at resuscitating the economy given the fact that the country’s unemployment rate stands at 90 percent while the Covid 19 pandemic has worsened the situation for citizens trying to eke a living from the informal sector. On another note, the Crisis Coalition also calls upon employers within the private sector to ensure that workers’ salaries are fixed in line with the Poverty Datum Line. We urge the government of Zimbabwe to: i) Stop persecution of trade unionists for demanding a living wage ii) Engage in honest discussions with trade unions over the issue of a living wage for workers iii) Ensure that workers get a living wage that is line with the Poverty Datum Line iv) Urgently implement reforms aimed at resuscitating the economy and attracting investments ENDS//

Marvellous Kumalo Spokesperson Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition 51 Longden Avenue, Belvedere, Harare Tel: (263)864 411 9477 Twitter: @crisiscoalition Facebook: Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Youtube: CrisisCoalitionZim

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