ZCTU stages demo in Bulawayo

BULAWAYO - Hundreds of Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) members on Thursday staged street demonstrations in Bulawayo against the torture of union leaders by police.

The trade union members defied a police ban and marched through the streets without police clearance.

“We applied for permission from the police to commemorate the brutal attack of our leaders on September 13, 2006 in Harare.

“The police said we should confine the commemorations to our offices only, but we are saying we want the whole world to know that there are workers’ rights violations in this country,” said Reason Ngwenya, ZCTU chairperson for the western region.

Ngwenya said the trade union commemorates September 13 every year in honour of attacked victims.

ZCTU leaders including former secretary general, Wellington Chibhebhe, former union president Lovemore Matombo and Lucia Matibenga, who is now the minister of Labour, were on September 13 2006 arrested and brutally assaulted by police at Matapi Police Station in Harare while demonstrating against the deteriorating workers’ living standards at a time of skyrocketing inflation.

Some of the victims of the police attack were permanently injured.

Following the incident, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) instituted a commission of enquiry which urged government to stop the arrests, detentions, violence, interference with unionionism and anti-union discrimination of trade unionists.

Seven years after the recommendations, the government is yet to implement the recommendations.

The workers who were carrying placards and banners marched through the streets of Bulawayo singing and dancing. - Pindai Dube

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