News / Africa

Zimbabwe Public Servants Strike Fails

Delia Robertson

Zimbabwe's public service unions' attempted one-day strike appeared to fizzle Thursday, with most workers reporting for duty.  However, union leaders are still hailing the action as a success, and still pressing their demand for increased wages.

Tendai Chikowore, president of the Apex Council, which represents all of Zimbabwe's public sector unions, told reporters in Harare most public servants had heeded the call to strike.

“There has been an overwhelming response," said Chikowore. "Of course it is not 100 percent because other people have reported for duty here and there, but that is a normal situation where you find people want to get courage from those who are brave enough to quickly respond and then gradually you find also other people leaving their workstations.”

But independent reports from Harare say most government departments were functioning normally and that teaching was under way in classes at government schools.

Public servants are demanding increases for all workers - a minimum monthly wage of $538, up from $200 for entry-level employees. They also want medical insurance, improved pensions and a special allowance for workers in rural areas.  

A teacher in Harare who wished to remain anonymous told VOA teachers deserve better and that the government’s priorities in allocating funds are misplaced.

“Teaching basically is the mother of all professions, right? Since it is the mother of all professions, they should be the first priority in our government, they should be prioritized," said the teacher. "They have got other expenditures that they can just cut off, their cars, they are buying for [the] ministers right, they could cut off that money, put it to the teachers.”

Public servants have been using industrial action for the past decade to support demands for better wages and employment conditions. In 2008 there was a major crisis when staff shortages forced the closure of several state hospitals, and schools were open for just 50 days of teaching for the entire year.

In 2009 the formation of a so-called inclusive government between President Robert Mugabe and now- Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai led to the economy stabilizing. But there have been lengthy delays in implementing provisions of the agreement that led to the government's formation, and that has discouraged western governments from lifting targeted sanctions, and scared off international investors.  

Finance Minister Tendai Biti says salaries already consume more that 60 percent of Zimbabwe’s annual budget, to the detriment of health, education and infrastructure development.

Public Service Minister Lucia Matibenga declined to answer questions from VOA. Unions say they will consult with their members before deciding on what future action to take.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Video Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid