Kagonye urges workers’ unions to unite

Petronella Kagonye (Gonyeti)

Petronella Kagonye (Gonyeti)

Herald Reporters
Government has urged workers’ unions to unite and speak with one voice to promote the interests and welfare of workers. Addressing members of the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) who paid a joint courtesy call at her office, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Petronella Kagonye said instead of pursuing union interests, the labour organisations should concentrate on furthering interests of workers.

Minister Kagonye discouraged the unions from fighting over their differences. She said under the new political dispensation, the unions did not have to bring their previous political differences, but start from a new page and cooperate with Government to improve the welfare of workers. Government, she said, needed a good working relationship between the two organisations.

It will, however, play a facilitatory role so that workers find a lasting solution to their own issues. Intervention by Government should always be prudently calculated to guard against accusations of interference, she said.

“We should work together for ultimate progress,” said Minister Kagonye.

“You should see Government as a catalyst to progress. You should not accuse each other, but work together and come up with the correct approach. We encourage unions to collaborate and bring workers’ issues to us and not union issues. Before engaging the International Labour Organisation, you should first approach Government and together we will achieve more in terms of progress. We welcome views that bring progress.

“We are also working with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in reviving a social contract to come up with suggestions in terms of welfare, cash and pricing issues that are affecting the work force.” ZFTU secretary-general Mr Kennias Shamuyarira said his organisation was aligned to the ruling Zanu-PF, just as what COSATU is to South Africa’s ANC.

“We want to cooperate in the political dispensation vis-a-vis the new economic dispensation,” he said.

“We had a fruitful meeting with the minister, our counterpart and we hope to work together to attend to labour issues within the 100-day plan. Our hope is also to lure new investors who can assist workers because we want to develop workers.” ZCTU spokesperson Mr Peter Mutasa said while the organisation took part in the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change party, it was not aligned to the political party, and its political background did not have a connection with the union’s agenda on this cause.

“We represent workers,” he said.

“Workers are ready to move with the Government that furthers their cause. We are apolitical and we do not have any alliance with the MDC, but will continue to align with any particular cause. We are prepared to work with the Government that is prepared to further the interests of workers. We want to work and cooperate with the new Government if we all agree on issues that affect workers.”

The unions raised the issue of civil servants, which the minister said was now under the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC). The unions said they were having problems with the new arrangement as they were not sure on who to approach on issues involving the public service. They said they were willing to engage President Mnangagwa for clarification.

Article Source: The Herald

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