Factionalism undermining labour unions: Tsvangirai

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has told labour unions in Zimbabwe to organise themselves so that they can be taken seriously by their employers.

Addressing thousands of MDC supporters in Harare over the weekend, the former trade unionist, said the labour movement was losing steam due to factionalism and divisions.

“I know that you might have read stories to the effect that the MDC has ditched workers, never,” said Tsvangirai.

“I am the first worker in politics. The problem we have is with the current trade unions in the country. Please bring back vibrancy in trade unionism. It is very weak. Unite so that when you go to the negotiating table you are a united front and speak with one voice.”

Tsvangirai was speaking in response to a critical analysis given by Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) secretary general, Japhet Moyo, who lashed at some MDC ministers in government for ditching workers issues and fronting capitalistic agendas. Moyo was giving a solidarity message during the just-ended party policy conference.

He took a dig at Finance minister, Tendai Biti, Energy minister, Elton Mangoma and Public Service minister, Lucia Matibenga whom he accused of being anti-labour.

But Tsvangirai said trade unions were their own devil as they are divided and no-longer forceful as they used to be during his reign.

“We must not allow foreigners to come and tell us how we treat each other, you workers you must stand guard and make your positions clear whenever you are at the negotiating table. Don’t expect much from government to come freely but you have to be strong whenever negotiating and this can be done when you are united,” Tsvangirai said.

Before the former opposition leader joined mainstream politics, massive strikes, stay-ways and demonstrations were regularly staged, forcing government to reconsider some of its policies that had a direct effect on workers welfare.

Currently, ZCTU is divided in two factions. - Xolisani Ncube

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