Stay-away a success


0

A stay-away organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions was a success with between 70 to 90 percent of the workers staying at home but the United States embassy said Information Minister Jonathan Moyo could retaliate using the Public Order and Security Act.

“The ZCTU seems to be drawing strength from the widespread support of this call for mass action. We have received some reports of labour leaders being arrested in Bulawayo, and some national ZCTU leaders are reportedly in hiding ahead of rumoured Harare arrests,” the embassy said.

“The potential for massive retaliation remains a real threat, with Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo calling for criminal and civil penalties against labour union officials under the draconian Public Order and Security Act, which has given the GOZ great leeway for arrest and detention of opposition leaders.

“Given the widespread shutdown of businesses, it will be difficult for the GOZ to spin this stay-away as a failure. The combined efforts of both labour and the MDC in future calls to action will increase political and economic pressure on the GOZ,” it went on.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE795, STAYAWAY, DAY TWO: NO BUSINESS, AS USUAL

If you are new to these pages, please read an introduction on the structure of a cable as well as how to discuss them with others. See also the FAQs

Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE795

2003-04-25 09:49

2011-08-30 01:44

CONFIDENTIAL

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

 

250949Z Apr 03

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000795

 

SIPDIS

 

STATE FOR AF/S, DRL

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER

LONDON FOR C. GURNEY

PARIS FOR C. NEARY

NAIROBI FOR T. PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/24/2013

TAGS: ECON ELAB PGOV ZI

SUBJECT: STAYAWAY, DAY TWO: NO BUSINESS, AS USUAL

 

REF: A. HARARE 779

 

B. HARARE 550

 

Classified By: Laboff KRBel for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).

 

1. (SBU) Summary. The second day of the ZCTU-called

stayaway continued with widespread industrial shutdown, many

banks closed, and more shops and grocery stores closed than

Wednesday. The GOZ seems determined to find a scapegoat that

minimizes public support, claiming that the ZCTU has paid

transport operators to abandon their regular routes.

Conflicting reports abound, but labor sources indicate that

they will not renew a call for an indefinite stayaway, but

will instead support the MDC when it renews calls in May for

a nationwide mass action. End summary.

 

————————-

Participation Remains High

————————-

 

2. (SBU) A quick tour through industrial Harare indicated

that businesses continued with a 70-90% shutdown rate (ref

a). Banks remained closed, for the most part, and many more

shops and grocery stores were locked. One press report

stated that infamous “labor leader” (and defeated Zanu-PF

candidate for Parliament) Joseph Chinotimba personally

intervened with a clothing store in downtown Harare, first

forcing the owner to open his shop, and later arresting the

owner for not keeping his business open. The GOZ-controlled

media has also claimed that the ZCTU paid transport operators

up to Zim $50,000 each to buy their cooperation and

compensate them for lost business in an effort to prevent

workers from reaching their jobs.

 

————————————

Rumors of Continuation Not Confirmed

————————————

 

3. (C) One local businessman reports that the ZCTU has

called for an additional four days of stayaway next week,

from April 29 through May 2 — and encompassing the May 1st

Labor Day holiday. However, we have received no

corroboration from labor contacts. By contrast, the

Solidarity Center rep reports that the stayaway will end as

of COB on Friday, and states that workers will report as

usual from Saturday onwards. This contact also stated that

the ZCTU intended this stayaway as an opening salvo, and will

now concentrate its efforts on coordinating with the MDC in

future mass actions scheduled for early May. Additionally,

MDC sources have previously indicated that they would not be

ready for a renewed call for mass action before May 5,

possibly as late as May 13. Although they may now intend to

capitalize on the momentum generated by the ZCTU’s action, we

have had no independent corroboration of such a plan.

 

———————————-

GOZ Attempts to Spin the Situation

———————————-

 

4. (SBU) The GOZ has been desperately attempting to pre-empt

further public mass action through concession, coercion, and

confusion. The GOZ-controlled press published stories of

new, reduced transport fees (with a maximum price of Zim $300

one-way) on the second day of the stayaway. The GOZ also

coupled this story with public threats of revocation of

licenses should transport operators fail to ply their

assigned routes. Today, on the third and final day of the

stayaway, the headlines trumpet newly announced minimum

wages, reportedly negotiated between government and

businesses under the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF),

despite the fact that labor — the third party — has

publicly disavowed further participation. In its statement

calling for the stayaway, the ZCTU publicly blasted the GOZ

for raising the fuel price unilaterally outside of the TNF

process (ref a) and announced that the previously negotiated

minimum wages had “been overtaken by events on the ground”

and were no longer adequate. Now, the GOZ is hailing the

“negotiated” minimum wage as a triumph for workers — at

levels agreed (but not signed into law) as early as March

(ref b), well before fuel was raised by 300%.

 

——-

Comment

——-

 

5. (C) The ZCTU seems to be drawing strength from the

widespread support of this call for mass action. We have

received some reports of labor leaders being arrested in

Bulawayo, and some national ZCTU leaders are reportedly in

hiding ahead of rumored Harare arrests. The potential for

massive retaliation remains a real threat, with Minister of

Information Jonathan Moyo calling for criminal and civil

penalties against labor union officials under the draconian

Public Order and Security Act, which has given the GOZ great

leeway for arrest and detention of opposition leaders. Given

the widespread shutdown of businesses, it will be difficult

for the GOZ to spin this stayaway as a failure. The combined

efforts of both labor and the MDC in future calls to action

will increase political and economic pressure on the GOZ.

SULLIVAN

(43 VIEWS)

Don't be shellfish... Please SHARETweet about this on Twitter
Twitter
Share on Facebook
Facebook
Share on LinkedIn
Linkedin
Email this to someone
email
Print this page
Print

Like it? Share with your friends!

0
Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *