THE Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF) has petitioned President Emmerson Mnangagwa over the continuous use of the judiciary to delay finalisation of the case involving trade unionists who were arrested over a year ago for demonstrating against the effect of austerity measures on incomes.
A copy of the letter in our possession dated January 30 2020, signed by PWF General Secretary, Zahoor Awan expressed dismay over the continuous prosecution of trade unionists who were arrested last year during a demonstration against taxes affecting workers.
“I am writing on behalf of PWF which represents 880 000 workers in Pakistan to strongly condemn the continued harassment of trade unionists in your country for carrying out their legitimate trade union activities in their demand for socio-economic justice caused by austerity measures adopted by your government ,”he said.
Zahoor queried why unionists, Dickson Chaeruka ,and 18 others continued to be dragged to the courts by government despite the fact that their leaders Peter Mutasa and Japhet Moyo have since been freed of the charges.
“The 19 ZCTU members have appeared in court more than 11 times and are set to appear in court again today (4/2/20) .We are concerned by the continued persecution of eight uniuon officials from the Energy Sector Workers Union of Zimbabwe who were also arrested in March 2018 during a hearing at Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority who remain labelled criminals despite being cleared of the charges they faced,” said Zahoor in the letter.
Furthermore, PWF registered displeasure over the dismissal of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority’s second Vice President John Chirenda for representing workers at his workplace.
“Your excellency we remain concerned by the continuing deteriorating cost of living of the workers and the people of Zimbabwe due to failed austerity measures adopted by your government.Already the path chosen by your government makes it difficult to fulfill its obligations under the United Nations sustainable goal 8 on decent work and economic growth,” said the letter.
PWF called on Mnangagwa to address six key issues as a matter of urgency which are as follows; amendment of the Criminal Law codification and Reform Act ,Maintenance of Peace and Order Act, the Labour Act, the Public Service Act and the Health Services Act.
The alignment of legislation and putting into practice of the principles of the ILO conventions on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining was also called for.
“Our federation would like to assure you that in solidarity with the ZCTU and Zimbabwean workers – it will continue to closely follow your government’s actions to improve respect of labour and take further action accordingly,” added PWF.