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unions turn up heat on Mugabe
April 02, 2007
Zimbabwe's main labour union said yesterday it expected thousands
of workers to stay away from work for two days this week to push
for higher wages in a strike that could pile more pressure on President
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said a majority of its affiliate
unions had signed up for a job boycott tomorrow and on Wednesday,
chosen instead of a demonstration amid fears of possible violent
a crumbling economy and resurgent opposition, has accused the ZCTU
of being a western stooge, sponsored to oust him for seizing white-owned
have called on workers to ignore the boycott, warning the unions
"against inciting violence".
Lovemore Matombo said the party was going ahead with the stayaway
because talks between labour, industry and government officials
on a higher minimum wage and other improved work conditions had
not yet yielded results.
as we are concerned we gave adequate notice for this job boycott,
and we are trying to protect workers from brutality by not staging
The ZCTU said
that workers wanted a minimum wage of Z$1m ($4000 on the official
market but worth only $50 on the black market) and for the government
to resolve an economic meltdown and increase access to anti-retroviral
Mugabe has faced
international condemnation over a crackdown which left main opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai injured and hospitalised after police stopped
a banned prayer rally to protest against a deepening economic crisis.
The unions are
aligned to Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Nicholas Goche accused the ZCTU of "playing politics"
by calling for the boycott. "The government has learned it
is individuals in the ZCTU who are aligned to the opposition politics,
who want to be seen to be participating in the western-backed violence
aimed at regime change in Zimbabwe."
Wayne Bvudzijena told state media that police would be deployed
in all major towns during the strike.
say Mugabe's crackdown on the MDC and the fight against the
deteriorating economy by the unions are likely to keep the pressure
on the Zimbabwean government.
ruling party adopted a motion on Friday to hold elections next year
and endorsed Mugabe as its presidential candidate.
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