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statement on Workers Day
Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
April 30, 2013
Constitutional Assembly joins the working class people the world
over in commemorating Workers Day on the 1st of May
Every year on
May 1st, workers around the world celebrate their victories, remember
their fallen heroes and recommit themselves to the fight for a better
life. May Day is a day to remind the world that the worker’s
labour is the wheel around which our world revolves and the basis
upon which the world re-generates itself.
It is a day
to take stock of the gains made by workers and how far we have come
in fighting for workers’ rights and economic justice.
are noted once a year workers still need to mobilise on 1st May
and beyond to confront the many challenges they still face and increase
the tempo of the struggle for a just and equitable society and international
The day comes
at critical time in the lives of the working class in Zimbabwe as
workers are relegated to 3rd class citizens in the national economy
and political processes. The national government has failed to address
class inequalities on the ownership of the means of production.
It does not
make sense to speak of the right to food when a minority ruling
elites have a monopoly over land ownership in our country. We also
take note of the new constitution’s restriction to the right
to strike for workers, whilst it bars civil servants from collective
bargaining a scenario which betrays the earlier labor freedoms of
conception of the inclusive
government and a new constitution, workers continue to face
the blunt of the ever increasing cost of living which is ‘matched’
with stagnated salaries and wages. In the same vein the constitution’s
bill of rights is cosmetic as we cannot speak of freedom of movement
when fuel and transport costs rise higher than the working class
We cannot speak
of the right to health care when only a rich minority benefits from
a state of the arts health system whilst many of us languish in
the public health care system with long queues, shortage of equipment
and supplies and filthy wards.
We cannot speak
of the right to life when so many mothers die whilst giving birth
and so many children die at the hands of our public health system.
We cannot speak
of the right to education when many working class children learn
in an unsafe, filthy and dilapidated environment.
this May Day amidst continued working class suffering. The ruling
class in this country has immensely benefited from our hard won
democracy. We are faced with a situation where our rights are at
a risk of becoming meaningless due to the privatization of wealth
in the hands of a minority.
We also call
on the working class to mount a struggle against selfish politicians
who have turned Zimbabwe into their own republic – looking
out solely for their interests. The crisis of unemployment must
also inspire us to intensify our struggle against greed and destructive
market fundamentalism. With unemployment rate of 70% when using
the more realistic expanded definition - creating jobs, eradicating
poverty and reducing inequality has to be the top priority for government,
business and labour.
people in this country are at the coalface of the social malaise
that confronts us. They are without meaningful employment, are denied
quality education, and languish in many of our prisons or simply
die of the HIV/AIDs pandemic.
class is still faced with housing challenges that is still persistent.
The colonial spatial environment is still untransformed and low
income houses are still built on the periphery of cities and far
away from our factories. Our public transport system is still inefficient
We are deeply
worried by the working conditions in workplaces especially in the
mines, farms and factories were workers do not have such a luxury
called ‘free time’ or leisure time. This is despite
the rich and employers in this country have all the time to play
golf and take overseas holidays. Basic Services continue to be commodified
and citizens have become clients of the neoliberal state. This is
why we should not be surprised when communities take to the streets
in demand of better services.
On this International
workers day we pay solidarity to the workers in Swaziland who are
under attack from the Tinkudla regime of Mswati.
Many of our
rights have become paper tigers due to the lack of transformation
of our economy.
The levels of
unemployment and income inequality are unacceptable. Corruption
is a scourge. State power is important and we must use it –
and the poor – without state schools, without public hospitals,
without transport subsidized by the state, without a public broadcaster,
or a civic centre, or a public library – there is no chance
of education, there is no chance of health-care, there often is
no chance of moving from one place to another, there is no chance
of listening to radio of your own choice.
We call upon political parties to stop meddling in union affairs
and call for one robust labour body to confront the challenges faced
by the working class every day.
We hereby reaffirm
our commitment to Section 4 of the Zimbabwe’s Peoples
Charter which says…
Economy and Social Welfare
Holding in relation
to the national economy and social welfare that because the colonial
and post-colonial periods resulted in massive growth in social inequality
and marginalization of women, youths, peasants, informal traders,
workers, the disabled, professionals and the ordinary people in
general, we hereby make it known that our national economy belongs
to the people of Zimbabwe and must serve as a mechanism through
which everyone shall be equally guaranteed the rights to dignity,
economic and social justice which shall be guided by the following
h) Free and
quality public health care including free drugs, treatment, care
and support for those living with HIV and AIDS.
i) A living
pension and social security allowances for all retirees, elderly,
disabled, orphans, unemployed and ex-combatants and ex-detainees.
j) Decent work,
employment and the right to earn a living. · Affordable,
quality and decent public funded transport.
k) Food security
and the availability of basic commodities at affordable prices,
where necessary, to ensure universal access. ·
l) Free and
quality public education from crèche to college and university
m) Decent and affordable public funded housing.
n) Fair labour
standards including: A tax-free minimum wage linked to inflation
and the poverty datum line and pay equity for women, youth and casual
workers, safe working places and adequate state and employer funded
compensation for injury or death from accidents at work, protection
from unfair dismissal, measures to ensure gender equity in the workplace,
including equal pay for work of equal worth, full and paid maternity
and paternity leave.
No Retreat No
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