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fight 'satanic' wage freeze: ZCTU
Sifile, The Standard (Zimbabwe)
September 02, 2007
TWO of the country's
leading civic society organisations have warned President Robert
Mugabe his announcement of a wage freeze last week was "satanic",
illegal and "hopelessly unconstitutional".
Last week, Mugabe invoked
the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act to freeze all wage
and salary increments.
But the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions and the National
Constitutional Assembly said the decree smacked of government
hypocrisy, as it rendered useless ongoing dialogue through the Tripartite
Negotiating Forum (TNF).
have noted that although the government could use the decree to
control rentals and other charges, the same measure could not be
used for wages and salaries as these fall under the Labour
Act, which has not been amended.
In a statement, ZCTU
secretary general Wellington Chibebe, said the measures were "satanic,
economically wrong and morally suicidal".
He said the announcement
was an indication Mugabe was out of touch with reality, and should
brace himself for a showdown with with the workers.
"There is no rationale
in freezing salaries when only last week prices of commodities were
reviewed upwards — what hypocrisy!" said Chibebe. "The
move by the State means that battlelines have been drawn between
the ZCTU and government . . . This means that we keep going round
in circles and never stick to agreed programmes of action to finding
lasting solutions to the crisis in Zimbabwe."
Chibebe said the measures
were "unacceptable in a democracy" and "tantamount
to condemning all Zimbabweans to poverty".
it would seem, is not in touch with the reality on the ground and
we wonder on what planet he lives. It is no secret at all that he
is well catered for — he has never slept on an empty stomach,
he has never walked from State House to his Munhumutapa offices,
his children have never been chased away from school because they
had not paid fees, and he has never experienced water and electricity
cuts. Freezing wages and salaries, when an average wage in the industry
is $1 million is tantamount to condemning all Zimbabweans to poverty."
Yesterday, NCA chairperson
Lovemore Madhuku said the decree was "hopelessly unconstitutional".
"Wages and salaries
cannot be dealt with under a presidential decree, they fall under
the Labour Act. The Labour Act has not been amended, and unless
it has been amended, the decree on wages and salaries cannot be
effected. Obviously, they should realise this mistake, a wage is
not a price," Madhuku said.
John Robertson said yesterday the new measures were an attempt by
the government to find excuses for not reviewing civil servants'
"This is only going
to make things worse," he said. "The government is trying
to protect itself from the demands of civil servants. They now have
an excuse for not reviewing their salaries upwards and want to get
everyone under their umbrella.
"They cannot talk
of a price freeze when the goods are being sold on the black market.
The real price at the moment is the black market price, and this
will only worsen the situation."
Robertson predicted that
like the July price blitz, the new measures would backfire.
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