Harare opposes labour action

HARARE - The Zimbabwean government yesterday urged workers to ignore calls by labour union leaders for a two-day general strike in protest against the country's economic meltdown.

HARARE - The Zimbabwean government yesterday urged workers to ignore calls by labour union leaders for a two-day general strike in protest against the country's economic meltdown.

"I wish to appeal to all workers to ignore the politically motivated stayaway being called for by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) [tomorrow and Wednesday]," Labour Minister Nicholas Goche said.

The ZCTU said it decided to call a general labour shutdown after the authorities' failure to respond to concerns about the worsening economic crisis.

Four in every five potential workers are jobless in Zimbabwe and official inflation stands at 1730percent.

"Government has learnt that it is the individuals in the ZCTU who are aligned to the opposition politics of the Movement for Democratic Change [MDC] who want to be seen participating in the current Western-backed violence aimed at regime change in Zimbabwe," Goche said.

He said everyone should report for work as usual, adding that the authorities would ensure public transport was available and security ensured during the strike days.

In September labour unions were forced to abandon plans for mass anti-government protests after organisers were rounded up in a police crackdown.

Its yearly rate of inflation, the highest in the world, should hit 4000percent by year-end, said the International Monetary Fund.

Meanwhile, seven foreign trade unions in Europe and Africa threw their weight behind the ZCTU strike call.

"The government of Zimbabwe should take steps to address the economic meltdown," said national umbrella unions of Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Malawi, the Netherlands, Finland and Denmark in a statement published in Zimbabwe's The Standard independent weekly. - Sapa-AFP

X