THE NGO NETWORK ALLIANCE PROJECT - an online community for Zimbabwean activists  
 View archive by sector


Back to Index

Both sides claim victory over stayaway
April 04, 2007

HARARE - The Zimbabwe's Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has declared its two-day job stayaway to protest deteriorating standards of living a "major success", but by midday on Wednesday shops and banks had begun to reopen.

"The workers heeded the call to stayaway while some companies contributed by shutting down although we are aware that some of them were forced to open their business premises by security officials," said ZCTU information officer Last Tarabuka.

Hundreds of mini-bus taxi operators parked their vehicles on Tuesday, the first day of the stayaway, claiming they feared they would be attacked by union activists, especially in the townships. Some did so in solidarity with the protest, called to register anger over an economic meltdown that has pushed inflation to 1,700 percent.

But government-owned buses were running on Wednesday, as were selected transporters able to access highly-subsidised fuel. Banks in the Central Business District (CBD) and department stores also opened for business.

The president of the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ), Johnson Manyakara, told IRIN it was too early to make an accurate assessment of the impact of the two-day strike.

"It is difficult to assess fully because based on where I work, I would say there was very little impact because there was 98 percent attendance. You will appreciate that I don't have the full information on the entire business sector."

Another senior EMCOZ official said employers in the heavy industrial areas were the hardest hit. "Yes maybe banks and other businesses in the CBD were not that hard hit, but in the industrial areas, we had some factories closing because many workers did not turn up for work. Others simply legitimately asked for days off, which they were granted."

Information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu described the two-day stayaway a "flop". He accused the ZCTU of declaring a strike for political interests rather than out of economic concerns.

"The people of Zimbabwe have responded by giving the regime-change agenda a cold shoulder. The workers ignored the ZCTU-orchestrated stayaway sponsored by hostile Western governments led by Britain and the USA and reported for work. The police and the army ensured that there was adequate security around the country," he told IRIN.

Please credit if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.