Home » General » May Day – ZLHR Demands Labour Rights

Calling for alignment of labour laws with the country’s new Constitution…ZLHR

HUMAN rights lawyers in Zimbabwe have called on President Robert Mugabe to speed up the process of aligning labour laws with the country’s new Constitution.

In a statement, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) expressed solidarity with Zimbabwe’s beleaguered workforce as the country marks Workers Day, today.

“ZLHR commits itself to the comradely struggle to press the government to further refine and protect fundamental workers’ rights, ensure effective implementation of rights already guaranteed, and in this regard to immediately align all labour laws with the new Constitution,” said ZLHR.

“We further call on the executive and legislative arms of government to fast-track legislation that will effectively deal with the scourge of corruption, including corporate greed, particularly in the public sector.

“It is imperative that the government of Zimbabwe does more to ensure that workers’ rights are protected and realised.”

The lawyers group bemoaned the continued suffering of local workers in times of company closures, a development that has seen thousands of workers offloaded into the country’s chaotic informal sector.

“In other parts of the world, International Workers’ Day is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the economic and social achievements of workers,” said the group.

“In Zimbabwe, however, it is disheartening to note that setbacks and challenges continue to outweigh the victories and progress that workers have achieved in the 34 years of Zimbabwe’s independence as the government and employers in private enterprise have turned their backs on the working people.

“It is dismaying that in recent months thousands of Zimbabwean workers have been left without jobs as a result of forced retrenchments occasioned by company closures due to the difficult economic operating environment.

“Workers in the private and public sector continue to earn slave wages that do not allow them and their families to live above the poverty datum line, while unemployment and inequality is increasing at a shocking pace.”

ZLHR also condemned the current Zanu PF led government for failing to fulfil its 2013 pre-election pledges to provide two million jobs in a country with an unemployment rate of over 70 percent, according to private estimates.

“Those in control of the levers of state power pledged to create 2 million jobs,” says ZLHR.

“These remain hollow and shallow platitudes as we witness the stark reality of a multitude of commercial enterprises downsizing operations and employment levels, while other companies have completely shut down.

“In some instances workers in both the public and private sector have had to endure slashed salaries while corporate greed is running unchecked at the expense of the suffering workers.

“It is unacceptable that no concerted action has been taken to bring an end to the impunity for corrupt activities by big bosses who continue to feast while their workers go for months without decent pay and sub-standard working conditions.

“Some discouraged work seekers have lost hope of securing any form of employment and are increasingly turning to informal trading, which itself is under threat from government-enforced demolitions of structures, evictions from trading places and threats to forcibly tax this informal workforce.”

A year ago, it was reported that less than 900 000 Zimbabweans were still formally employed out of a 13 million population.

But with the continued closure of companies, the figure could now be lower than that.

The level of employment in Zimbabwe’s formal sector has dipped from a peak of 1.4 million between 1981 and 1998 to around 998 000 by 2004, said renowned economist, John Robertson.

An estimated 100 000 jobs have been lost from 2004 up to date as government fails to create new jobs.

Source : New Zimbabwe