Workers must go beyond  pleading for pay rise

© CALLS by government workers for another pay rise barely a month after their salaries were reviewed upwards is indicative of the challenges confronting the local labour force which they should reflect on as they commemorate the imminent International Workers’ Day, also known as Workers’ Day or Labour Day.

Given the suffering of the workers, this year’s Labour Day, which under normal circumstances is an appropriate time to pay tribute to workers’ contributions to national development, is being commemorated amidst gloomy circumstances. Prices of basic commodities have been skyrocketing since September last year when Finance minister Mthuli Ncube introduced the unpopular two percent tax on electronic transactions. 

The rise in fuel prices against the backdrop of rising inflation, which skyrocketed from 59,39 percent in February to 66,8 percent last month, has also left both employees and their employers in a very untenable situation.

Workers may agitate for another pay rise given the erosion of their recent salary gains but the situation on the ground now demands more than a mere pay rise. The economy needs an urgent injection of funds from international partners to stem the tide towards full-blown recession. Sadly, as things stand, western countries in particular, are unwilling to bail us out due to our toxic politics.

Internationally-acclaimed local economist Tony Hawkins believes the ultimate solution to Zimbabwe’s problems is political. He is convinced the building of consensus between the ruling Zanu PF and the MDC will encourage the international community to assist us and to invest in our struggling economy.

Sadly, in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s so-called new dispensation, violation of property rights is still commonplace. Recently, some people invaded Gaika Mine — a joint venture project between China Africa Investment Development Company and Duration Gold Limited — with the encouragement and blessing of State Security minister Owen Ncube. 

Not surprisingly, this incident has been used by some of the country’s detractors as proof of lack of property rights protection in Zimbabwe. Given the foregoing, Zimbabwean workers must change their game plan forthwith. 

It is no longer enough to call for a pay rise, they should now use their collective power to prod the country’s main political players to forge some sort of working alliance that will enable Zimbabwe to regain the goodwill of the international community. 

Workers must use the forthcoming International Workers’ Day celebrations to push for urgent dialogue between the country’s main political parties.