By Linda Masarira
By definition, a worker is someone who trades their labour for an income. In as much as the description of “liveable income” under realism is mainly a result of “societal classes” it is of paramount importance to realize that the whole essence of human rights is aimed at giving people equal treatment regardless of class. This therefore explains why through the corridors of history we have a litany of notable workers revolution. Karl Marx’s four stages of revolution are another attempt by philosophers to solve the labour problems we experience to date.
If one is to trace why we’ve had the “Chimurenga/Umvukela” War it can be deduced that labour injustice was one of the key issues. Fast forward to the post independence era, the nationalist government under the late President Robert Gabriel Mugabe (MHSRIP) took the offensive approach of land redistribution in a bid to empower ordinary citizens economically. However, we need to admit that the process was too flawed & hypocritical. Most beneficiaries were ZANU PF aligned and the opposition of the day (MDC) took the “conservative approach” advocating for the protection of the white minority in the name of legality (title deeds) which were fraudulently acquired under colonial repressive laws. It is against such a background that the greater percentage of the populace were left vulnerable without the keys of production which are capital, land labour hence poverty increased.
Labour Economists and Afrikan Democrats (LEAD) also notes with great sadness that as we celebrate Workers this year 2021, we do so against a background of extensive exploitation of workers in an unfair working environment both in the public and private sectors of our country. We have a great number of unemployed citizens and in most cases those that are employed have nothing to write home about. This poses a serious threat to the reason of our very own existence which according to the Constitution is to enjoy our lives free from want and anything else.
Unfortunately workers have nothing to celebrate in Zimbabwe, they are underpaid, exploited and manipulated. The labour act in Zimbabwe favours the employer at the expense of the employee. It is imperative for all progressive political parties to start advocating for pro poor policies that benefit every worker in Zimbabwe.
Corruption in the ruling party, government, opposition led institutions, private sector, Civic Society, the church, all organs of state and the informal sector has eroded the benefits of the worker affecting buying power and their ability to fulfill his right to a decent and dignified standard of living. Dealing with corruption has to be a priority to the ruling party, all opposition parties and all citizens of Zimbabwe.
If workers are paid a decent salary in line with the poverty datum line, it reduces corruption at the workplace and increases productivity and efficiency. We all have an obligation and responsibility to ensure that this pandemic is eroded and dealt with once and for all. Failure to nip this, the worker will suffer.
Government must retire every worker who is above 60 years, to pave way for energetic, innovative & enterprising young people. About 64% of the population is made up of persons between 18-35 yet nearly 90% are unemployed. We need new, fresh people in civil service.
Social security for pensioners is of paramount importance. I implore the Government to ensure that our senior citizens have a dignified exit by ensuring that they get decent gratuities and pension payouts thereafter.
In conclusion, we celebrate all the workers in Zimbabwe for their resilience and tenacity. We encourage them to work harder for the progress of our nation in our quest to achieve sustainable human development and economic growth.
To all those that wake up in the morning for the benefit of all of us through their sweat to see that the sun goes down, having done what this nation requires, I salute you all. Happy workers day!
#TogetherWeCan ensure decent salaries for all workers in Zimbabwe.
Linda Tsungirirai Masarira