ZCTU threaten strike over price increases

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s main labour federation yesterday threatened to call for a strike mid next month to protest alleged government failure to contain sharp price hikes and to demand a 50 percent salary hike.

Analysts say strikes over labour and social issues in recent years have largely failed due to government intimidation and workers’ fears of losing their jobs in a country that has an 80 percent unemployment rate.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions’ (ZCTU) general council this week discussed the impact of the country’s economic crisis on workers, as well as Mnangagwa’s repeated statement that some dealers, suppliers and business owners were in the habit of increasing prices willy-nilly without proper justification.

The ZCTU resolved to hold a strike mid-January if the price hikes are not stemmed.

ZCTU secretary general Japhet Moyo said they noted with concern that authorities were just making rhetoric and there is no progress in solving the issue.

“The ZCTU has, therefore, resolved that if nothing tangible is done, it will activate its structures and come mid-January 2018, we will be calling for national action against both the government and business,” Moyo said in a statement.

“We also reiterate our demand for a 50 percent upward review of wages and salaries across the board to compensate for the increases in basic commodities.”

Zimbabwe is confronted with worsening cash shortages that have intensified in recent months, with some banks limiting withdrawals to customers to as low as $20 while others have simply stopped dispensing cash

A critical shortage of US dollars has left businesses failing to import goods and the raw materials to make products locally.

Prices of imported basic products have skyrocketed, with business justifying the increase on the premium from purchasing foreign currency on the black market, raising fears of a return to hyperinflation.

Mnangagwa told the 6th Buy Zimbabwe Annual Awards at a Harare hotel this week: “I urge our wholesalers and retailers, as we approach this festive season, to refrain from profiteering by charging unscrupulous prices and never to put measures that may derail our efforts for a quick turnaround of the economy.

“Government wants to protect the rights of the consumers and ensure that its citizenry is not short changed or duped by unscrupulous dealers. Our people need a decent festive season where they can make and enjoy their holidays.”

 

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