The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) says it is now turning to the courts for protection against police interference ahead of more protests over the escalating retrenchment of workers across the country.
While its demonstrations in Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare proceeded without incident, the ZCTU’s Harare march was foiled by riot police and its leaders, George Nkiwane, and Japhet Moyo, were harassed.
Moyo vowed more marches, and criticized the government for dithering while more workers continued to lose their jobs.
“We now have to regroup and organize another demonstration,” Moyo said. “We will be going to court on Wednesday so we can get protection for the march.”
“We believe it is our constitutional right to demonstrate. We are therefore, not stopping; we are going back to the streets.”
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) general secretary, Raymond Majongwe, who was assaulted by police, was also defiant.
“We remain resilient, resolute, committed, and unequivocal and determined to move forward and say ‘the workers of this country are being given a torrid time by a government that they voted’,” Majongwe said.
Labor unions say close to 20,000 workers have lost their jobs in the past four weeks following a court ruling that made it easy for employers to retrench on notice and in most cases without benefits.
President Mugabe has resisted mounting pressure to invoke his presidential powers and stop the sackings, instead promising to push amendments to the Labor Act.