THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) could lose its representation on the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) board as it emerges that the highly politicized labour grouping no longer commands a considerable workforce due to structural transformation of the Zimbabwean economy.
Deliberate government policy to grow the informal sector over the past years, coupled with Western sanctions have killed ZCTU’s key source of membership.
ZCTU, which birthed the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC in 1999, draws its membership mainly from the formal sector, of which the biggest component now is Government, whose employees are under the Apex Council.
It is a statutory requirement that there be a tripartite representation on the board, comprising government, business and labour. Apart from the ZCTU, other labour unions with representatives on the NSSA board are the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) and the Apex Council, which represents civil servants.
However, Presidential spokesperson George Charamba hinted that since “ZCTU is dead in all but name”, it has no business continuing to sit on the NSSA board when its membership is now miniscule.
“ZCTU… has no members, no workforce given the structural transformation of the economy. The largest labour force is now in the civil service. Yet we continue to privilege ZCTU on NASSA Board,” Charamba said.
“Equally, the largest employer in this country is now the Public Service Commission, which does not sit on NASSA Board! Then comes our friends in ARTUZ and PTUZ (both teachers representatives).
“Their members are a miniscule; which need not be an issue with us, never mind the pitch of their agitprop. What is a real issue is their leadership which draws from non-employees claiming to stand for and represent employees in the Civil Service.
“These non-working labour aristocrats don’t give a damn what insecurities their type of reckless unionism creates for employees. They have absolutely nothing to lose. Or to account for when, as in the case of recent disastrous Grade 7 results, things go awry. No employer disciplines a non-employee; it is that basic,” Charamba fumed.
NSSA has investments in banking, insurance, hospitality and property sectors. Its investments have surpassed US$1 billion and are one of the few sources of liquidity in the market. This has made it a platform for contestation among various parties eyeing the cash rich fund.
Charamba further decried the politicization of labour in Zimbabwe, which he said is made worse by “dirty money” some Western embassies pour into organized labour to brew chaos as was the case in the teaching and medical sectors.
“(Situation is) made worse by lots a dirty money from well-known embassies circulating in hands of these aristocrats to destabilize industrial relations, made worse by affiliated politics of these careerist unionists who, harlot-like wield power without responsibility!
“Just now, one Dongo resigned as a nurse, but continue to speak not just for nurses, but on key policies like COVID-19 vaccine from a standpoint of paucity of skills, and angling to de-legitimize a certain vaccine on behalf of certain interests. He is quoted left and right as voice of labour in the sensitive health sector, akati n’ooo zvake kumba asisina E.C. Number!”
Enock Dongo leads the Zimbabwe Nurses Association. Both Dongo and the ZCTU were not immediately available for comment.
Charamba further said no civil servant who is not in Foreign Affairs or without the authority of the employer “can ever hobnob with representatives of a foreign State. – Zimbabwe Voice