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Zimbabwe Unions Call for Unlimited Bank Withdrawals

Zimbabwe's main labor federation is calling on people to defy a government rule and demand unlimited cash withdrawals from their banks.

The government allows people to withdraw only 500,000 Zimbabwean dollars a day, a small amount in a country beset by hyperinflation officially pegged at 231 million percent.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions is asking Zimbabweans to try to withdraw money beyond the daily limit next Wednesday.

The group's leader, Lovemore Matombo, says the current limit buys only one-quarter of a loaf of bread.

Matombo said the bank protests will not be illegal under Zimbabwe's sweeping security laws because people will only be claiming their own money.

Zimbabwe's government imposed the withdrawal limits in an effort to ease a cash shortage, driven largely by inflation.

The cash shortage has spawned long lines outside Zimbabwean banks as people try to withdraw whatever money is in their accounts.

Zimbabwe is struggling with a deepening economic crisis, marked by soaring inflation, shortages of basic goods including food, and 80 percent unemployment.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.