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Zimbabweans Urged to Unite to Stop Job Cuts

FILE: Members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions hold banners advocating the scrapping of taxes on pension benefits. (AP Photo)

Labor unions say more than 10,000 workers may have lost their jobs in just two weeks following a Supreme Court ruling that employers can fire workers at will if they are given at least three months’ notice.

More job losses, it seems are on the way with workers at the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) alleging that more than 1,000 colleagues have been fired. NRZ management says it has offloaded only 300 workers.

Spokesman, Fanuel Masikati, refused to comment when asked to clarify the figures.

Last week Finance Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, revealed plans to reduce the wage bill by 40 percent from the current 80 percent by slashing civil servants by almost 50 percent as the government struggles to reduce its expenditure.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) women’s national chairperson, Grace Mathe told VOA Studio 7 the firing of workers at the parastatal has shown that workers must unite this weekend to protest the job cuts.

Zanu PF Pelandaba-Mpopoma legislator and Central Committee member, Joseph Tshuma, who reportedly ruffled feathers in his recent maiden speech in parliament when he challenged the ruling party to work harder to revamp the economy, says the most effective approach to economic development is for all political parties and stakeholders to bury their differences and work together.

Tshuma also called on the government to declare Bulawayo a “special economic zone” to attract more investment into the city, amidst massive company closures and job losses, and that students from Matabeleland region should be given priority for enrolment in their local colleges.

Nationwide protests against job cuts are set for this weekend.

This comes at a time when Economic Planning Minister, Simon Khaya Moyo, told a business meeting last Friday that the government’s economic blue print; the Zimbabwe Agenda for Social and Economic Transformation (ZIMASSET), has failed to achieve all its targeted goals since its inception in 2013.

Tshuma reiterates that the economy is in a “mess” and people are struggling to survive countrywide, but emphasizes that the ruling party is not solely to blame.