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Zimbabwe Union Threatens More Protests As Living Cost Soars 66%

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, which called a general strike in April, has threatened more protests following word from the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe that monthly living costs for a family of six soared in May to Z$5.5 million (US$65).

That represented a 66% rise over April's monthly cost of living of Z$3.3 million.

The council reported big jumps in prices for water and electricity, which surged by a combined 251%, as well as in apparel and transport.

The ZCTU said most Zimbabwean workers earn less than Z$300,000 (US$3.50) for a month's work. The country's largest labor body said it intends to launch new protests to force the government and employers to give workers realistic salaries.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions Deputy Secretary General Japhet Moyo told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the majority of workers are struggling just to make ends meet.

Elsewhere, a report issued by the World Economic Forum, the World Bank and African Development Bank ranks Zimbabwe one of the world's least competitive economies.

The report cited deficiencies in economic rights including a lack of even-handedness by government and the erosion of property rights. The report's release coincided with the start of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town, South Africa.

The document scored the Harare government of President Robert Mugabe for alleged corruption, deficit spending and mismanagement of public finances and monetary policy, which sent Zimbabwe to the bottom of macroeconomic stability rankings.

“It is clear that for Zimbabwe to get back on track, improved governance affecting all levels of the economy will be necessary to restore confidence in the economy and to rebuild what was once one of Africa’s stars,” the report concluded.

Political analyst Glen Mpani, a student of Democracy and Governance at Cape Town University, said the report reinforces previous calls for major policy reforms.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...