Issue of unpaid workers to take centre stage on May Day

The nation tomorrow joins the whole world in celebrating the day of the workers and the ZCTU has lined up a number of activities to run under the theme “By words and deeds, we are proud to be ZCTU”.

This year’s celebrations come at a time when several companies and organisations are failing to pay their workers who have gone for months without pay, the latest being the Bulawayo City Council whose workers were on a four-day strike to press for their salaries last week.

In an interview on Saturday, ZCTU regional chairman Mr Reason Ngwenya said all was set for the celebrations.

He said the Bulawayo provincial celebrations would be held at White City Stadium and there would be other celebrations at different districts across the region.

Mr Ngwenya said they would among other things address issues of distressed industries but the main focus would be on non-payment of salaries and wages by employers.

“We are going to talk about non payment of wages by companies and we are concerned that 50 percent of companies are not paying workers some who have gone for more than five months without pay,” said Mr Ngwenya.

He appealed to the Government to intervene saying failure to do so would result in the labour movement taking measures.

“If the Government does not intervene to bail out these workers we will take our own action which we cannot disclose now. This also includes some Government officials who are taking workers as casuals and not paying them and such people are not wanted in the country,” Mr Ngwenya said.

The ZCTU has more than 30 affiliates across the country.

May Day is celebrated by labour movements globally and is usually characterised by street demonstrations and marches by working people and their labour unions.

Workers across the country are expected to converge on different venues to celebrate their day.

Mr Ngwenya said his union believed workers were stakeholders in the Distressed Industries and Marginalised Areas Fund (Dimaf) and called for a Statutory Instrument that would ensure transparency in the distribution of the fund.

“Workers have suggested that a Trust Fund be established because it looks like we are being cheated on the fund as it is being hijacked hence it becoming a political gimmick.

“We will also talk about the Indigenisation Policy because we have not seen anything that benefits the worker and the Government should come out clearly on it. It seems now there is corruption more than there was before the Government of National Unity and these are the issues we want to address,” said Mr Ngwenya.

He said they would also want to engage authorities on the water situation in Matabeleland and the delay in the completion of water projects such as Mtshabezi Pipeline.

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