- Title: ZIMBABWE: Zimbabwe unions threaten demonstrations over pay
- Date: 2nd May 2006
- Summary: (BN13) HARARE, ZIMBABWE (MAY 01, 2006) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF WORKERS MARCHING, HOLDING BANNERS (SOUNDBITE)(English) LOVEMORE MATOMBO, LEADER OF ZIMBABWE CONGRESS OF TRADE UNIONS SAYING: "The thrust of today deliverance was to ensure that there is unity among the working classes of Zimbabweans especially under this difficult time." VARIOUS OF LOVEMORE MATOMBO ADDRESSING WORKERS IN SHONA (SOUNDBITE) (English) LOVEMORE MATOMBO SAYING: "It's is the poverty datum line of Z$35 million (Zimbabwe dollars) (US$346) that we are demanding for the lowest paid Zimbabwe worker" CROWD LISTENING (SOUNDBITE) (English) LOVEMORE MATOMBO SAYING: "I hope and trust the mood we are getting from the grassroots will emerge on the 20th of May this year." WIDE OF CROWD
- Embargoed: 17th May 2006 13:00
- Location: Zimbabwe
- Country: Zimbabwe
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA673GTRMEQ5E7BMW60VOC98OUH
- Story Text: Zimbabwe's main labour federation warned President Robert Mugabe's government on Monday (May 1, 2006) it would call for street demonstrations to press for wage increases for members whose salaries have failed to match soaring costs.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has led a series of protests against the government -- largely crushed by security forces over the past six years -- as workers grapple with an escalating economic crisis widely blamed on Mugabe.
"We need a living wage in Zimbabwe. ... It is the poverty datum line of Z$35 million (U.S.$346) that we are demanding for the lowest paid Zimbabwe worker," ZCTU President Lovemore Matombo told journalists at the sidelines of a rally to mark Workers' Day.
"They are prepared to even go to the streets" if the government does not agree to the monthly minimum wage, Matombo said, pointing to the rally crowd of about 4,000.
The labour federation says some of its members earn as little as $10 a month.
The ZCTU is a close ally of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which has also vowed to press on with mass protests at an unspecified date despite Mugabe's threats that these would be ruthlessly crushed.
Last week the government raised salaries of civil servants and military personnel by up to 300 percent amid media reports that security chiefs had urged Mugabe to increase the salaries of the armed forces to ensure their loyalty against the threatened protests.
The ZCTU, the MDC and other critics say Mugabe has mismanaged the country since assuming power at independence in 1980, leaving Zimbabweans grappling with daily price hikes of commodities against static salaries, as well as soaring house rentals, school fees and transport costs.
Political and economic analysts say protest calls could find support among a broad range of disgruntled citizens who also have to deal on a daily basis with breaking sewer systems, water and electricity cuts, uncollected garbage and roads riddled with potholes.
Mugabe, 82, denies responsibility for the economic rot, and charges in turn that the economy has been sabotaged by domestic and foreign opponents of his forcible redistribution of white-owned commercial farms for blacks.
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