ON this International Workers Day, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) salutes all workers in Zimbabwe for their immense contributions to the country and their resilience in the face of the economic challenges in the country.
ZLHR urges the Zimbabwean government to implement robust measures that are designed to stop the escalating inflation in order to protect the purchasing power of workers across the country.
ZLHR also urges the authorities to desist from eroding worker’s income through excessive taxes and high mandatory contributions. The authorities are also urged to respect, protect and promote the right of all workers to demonstrate for better working conditions and their right to freedom of assembly and association.
International Workers Day (also known as May Day) is commemorated annually on 1 May across the globe. It is an opportunity to honour and celebrate the achievements of various labour movements that fought to improve the welfare of workers all over the world. It is also an opportunity for members of the public to reflect on the sacrifices of various union leaders, labour activists and ordinary workers who propelled the labour movements forward. Zimbabwean workers, union leaders and labour activists have also valiantly fought for the protection of workers’ rights and workers’ welfare.
ZLHR salutes all Zimbabwean workers, union leaders and activists who continue to champion the rights of workers in both the public and private sector. ZLHR also salutes workers for their resilience and tenacity in the face of challenges they encounter in their quest to improve the welfare of all workers and their families.
It is unfortunate that workers and labour activists in Zimbabwe are often persecuted by the authorities for advocating for improvements in workers’ welfare. The authorities routinely arrest workers and union
leaders for protesting for better wages and improved working conditions in violation of workers’ right to freedom to demonstrate and petition, which is enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. ZLHR strongly condemns the authorities’ blatant disregard for the supreme law of the country.
The disregard for workers’ right to demonstrate persists to this day, despite the fact that the Constitution entrenched the right to demonstrate and petition in 2013. This practice infringes on workers’ fundamental rights. ZLHR urges the authorities to desist from indiscriminately charging demonstrating workers with flimsy offences, in contravention of their fundamental right to demonstrate and petition in a peaceful manner.
Zimbabwean workers, in the public and private sector, face immense challenges in a difficult economic environment with high inflation and a weakening local currency. It is imperative that the authorities implement comprehensive policies that will arrest the unsustainable levels of inflation in the country, in order to protect the purchasing power of workers.
The authorities are also urged to desist from burdening workers in the country with excessive taxes and other mandatory contributions that are adding to the economic woes of workers. ZLHR notes with regret that in April 2022, the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) mandatory contributions were increased by over 300 percent. This steep increase in contributions will significantly reduce the disposable income of workers in the country. Such a drastic increase in mandatory contributions is particularly devastating to workers who are already grappling with high inflation and a weak economy. ZLHR therefore urges the authorities to prioritise the welfare of workers by desisting from imposing excessive taxes and high mandatory contributions.
On this International Workers Day, ZLHR calls upon:
- The authorities to respect, protect and promote workers’ rights to demonstrate and petition peacefully and their right to freedom of assembly and association;
- The authorities to desist from imposing excessive taxes and other high mandatory contributions;
- The authorities to implement robust measures that are designed to arrest the escalating inflation and local currency instability in Zimbabwe, in order to protect the purchasing power of workers.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
No. 103 Sam Nujoma Street, Harare, Zimbabwe
Phone: (+263 8677005347, +263 242 764085/705370/708118
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