ZIMBABWE is among the world’s 10 worst countries protecting the rights of employees, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)’s 2021 global rights index has revealed.
The southern Africa nation has been grouped in the same category with Bangladesh, Belarus, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Honduras, Myanmar, The Philippines, and Turkey.
The ITUC index shows that 87% of the worst countries violated the right for workers to strike, 79% violated the right to collective bargaining, 74% excluded workers from the right to establish and join a trade union, and 65% restricted workers to have access to justice.
“Zimbabwe remained one of the most hostile countries in the world for trade unionists as Zanu PF – the ruling party – called the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) – the main trade union organisation in the country – a “terrorist organization,” ITUC general secretary, Sharan Burrow said in the report.
The ITUC noted that following the violent attacks against employees during the general strikes organised in October 2018 and January 2019, the ZCTU leadership remained under constant harassment and surveillance by the police.
The labour body’s president, Peter Mutasa, was placed on the most wanted persons list by the police.
The index noted on July 6, 2020, the Zimbabwean Nurses’ Association (ZINA) organised strikes in Harare and Bulawayo demanding a salary review and their outstanding Covid-19 allowances as well as the adequate provision of personal protective equipment (PPEs).
However, before the protests, the ITUC said, the government ordered the arrest of 13 nurses.
“Instead of opening dialogue, the government ordered the arrest of 13 nurses. They have since been released on bail, but all have been dismissed. Strikes continued for 33 days without a return to negotiations,” the global union federation said.
In classifying Zimbabwe’s rogue status, the ITUC based their decision on the utterances made by then acting Zanu PF spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa who attacked and labelled the ZCTU as a; “Trojan Horse of the MDC Alliance and a terrorist organisation together with the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition”.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is a grouping of civil society organisations.
“On the same day, the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) issued a statement that they were hunting down ZCTU president Peter Mutasa, as well as Obert Masaraure and Robson Chere, leaders of the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union (ARTUZ), with regard to the 31 July 2019 strike.
“The day after, police began a manhunt for ZCTU member Godfrey Tsenengamu, Peter Mutasa and 11 other political and union members, requesting members of the public to supply information on the location of the activists. No statement was released on the reasons behind this manhunt,” the ITUC said. newzimbabwe