PRESS RELEASE: Re: ZCTU CALLS FOR A 30 DAY COUNTRY LOCK DOWN
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is calling on Zimbabwean workers to IMMEDIATELY stop going to work for the next 30 days in order to stop the spread of the Corona virus.
This follows our earlier calls for the government to place the country under immediate lockdown to minimise the risk of the spread of the deadly Corona Virus which the government ignored.
While we appreciate some of the efforts that are being put by government to prevent the spread of the virus we believe that these are not enough and government must take the next decisive act of shutting down the country . This should be done in a coordinated way that involves all stakeholders across sectors to get trust and support of the citizens as well as material support from the private sector. Government should also adequately fund the fight against this epidemic and ensure that frontline health services workers are fully supported and protected.
Our national health delivery system is incapacitated to handle the pandemic as evidenced by events of the past week. While other countries are taking bold steps to cut the cycle of the virus through measures that include imposing lockdowns and other measures designed to protect their citizens our responses have been inadequate. We also call upon stakeholders in Zimbabwe to step up to the challenge and assist by all means.
We implore government to endeavour to prioritise dialogue and consultation and refrain from making unilateral decisions.
Government needs to urgently convene the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) through digital platforms to find ways of assisting workers and struggling businesses during this period.It is also critical for government to immediately engage organised labour and businesses on how to sustain essential services that should be manned by a workforce that is well protected and motivated.
We note that even countries with strong economies are struggling to control the pandemic thus we call upon the government to be bold on preventive measures and upscale social security protection to the vulnerable as a matter of urgency.
While we are aware that other countries have put in place measures to compensate workers for the loss of incomes, we call upon our employers to be empathetic to their employees and provide the necessary social security safety nets as a matter of urgency since the disruptions to production have been occasioned by a superior force beyond anyone’s control. Employers should also act responsibly and refrain from taking advantage of this situation to deduct workers annual leave days. Good employers should lead by example and prioritise their employees’ safety at this critical juncture by closing shop while monitoring the situation.
During the period citizens and workers should not disregard the scientifically proven safety guidelines that are in the public domain. Citizens are reminded that they have only one lifetime to live and should not risk their health and safety and that of their families.
26 March 2020