'Nothing to celebrate for workers'

HARARE - Zimbabwe marks this year’s International Workers’ Day with a dark cloud of uncertainty hanging over the few remaining workers’ heads as banks struggle to provide cash while more and more companies continue to shut down.

Workers’ Day is a global annual commemoration that is celebrated on May 1 but in a country where an estimated 90 percent are unemployed, analysts and opposition parties say there is nothing for Zimbabweans to celebrate.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by Tendai Biti said the commemorations have coincided with one of the “darkest days” in the life of the country’s workforce.

In a statement to commemorate Worker’s Day, PDP secretary-general Gorden Moyo said the country’s economy has decayed and there is nothing to salvage as long as Zanu PF is at the helm.

“This year’s commemorations come at a time when the nation is facing insurmountable challenges underlined by a decaying economy, high unemployment, total collapse of service delivery, a ravaging drought and general hopelessness among the generality of the people,” Moyo said.

Moyo lamented government’s failure to create employment opportunities.

Several companies have shut down since President Robert Mugabe’s controversial election win in 2013.

Since the disputed elections, thousands of workers have since lost their jobs, while the economy continues to spiral down.

According to Moyo, “98 percent of the youths are in the informal sector, 60 percent of the industries which we had operating in 2010 have shut down, 83 percent of our people live on less than $1 a day and our women still die while giving birth because our hospitals lack basic facilities and medicines.”

Analysts have in the past attributed the country’s economic problems to Mugabe’s administration and the nonagenarian leader’s failure to consistently adhere to his set policies, a factor that has driven away potential investors.

Amid the crisis, the country has been hit by a serious cash shortage, which has brought back the memories of 2008, where workers had to sleep in queues in order to withdraw their salaries from banks.

Moyo further noted that this year’s celebrations come at a time when several companies are struggling to pay their workers as the harsh economic environment persists.

“More critically, the commemorations come at a time when the NRZ (National Railways of Zimbabwe) workers are engaged in a struggle to demand their salaries some dating to many years back from the carefree administration at the parastatal and the government of the day has shown little concern on the matter,” Moyo said.

The party said Zanu PF had failed to run the country properly owing to its corrupt tendencies.

“The struggle for emancipation of the worker and the creation of a social democratic State underpin the transition towards socialism which would represent the most advanced form of working class democracy,” Moyo said.

Comments (1)

On Labour Day all this country has to celebrate is over 90% unemployment, thousands of once highly productive factories closed, farms that are no longer productive and lying idle, a lack of water and electricity, roads in a shocking state, schools and hospitals needing attention and just so much misery and suffering through a corrupt elite who have amassed millions. This is not what any of us fought for. This is not the freedom and democracy we all longed for under that colonial rule. We are worse off today compared to any other time in our entire history? Thank you Mugabe for the state we find ourselves in.

Phukit - 2 May 2016

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