PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has directed the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, and public transporter Zupco to put in place an efficient transport system that will improve the ease of movement for workers and address transport challenges during peak hours.
This comes as there has been concerns among the commuting public on inordinately long periods spent in bus queues that have given rise to unscrupulous transporters in the form of “mushika-shikas, which often rip off the public.
In his speech to mark the Workers Day, held yesterday under the theme “Restoring Workers Dignity”, the President said workers are a bedrock for the country’s development and their welfare remains a priority of his administration, which is on an unstoppable mission to make Zimbabwe an upper middle class economy by 2030.
But in the wake of a spate of unjustifiable price increases, which is a result of imported inflation, the President assured workers of his resolve to restore their purchasing power through the provision of affordable transportation systems and other policies that respond to the aspirations of the workers.
“It is regrettable that prices have of late been increasing due to imported inflation. My Government remains seized with redressing the situation through comprehensive strategies to ensure that there is no erosion of disposable incomes.”
Such measures also include availing affordable buses that will ensure workers are not left at the mercy of unrecognised transporters that charge disproportionately high fares.
“The Second Republic is determined to retain the purchasing power of workers, through a viable public transport system. Government will not stand by and watch while the hard-earned incomes of our workers are stolen by ‘mushika-shikas’ and ‘makoronyera’. No!
“You, as our workers, deserve an efficient and affordable transport system so that production time as well as your family time is not lost in transport queues. During peak hours, workers must be transported with the greatest ease.
“I, therefore, direct authorities at Zupco and the responsible ministry to heed this call and bring back order in the sector. There are no residential areas which are more important than others. All communities must be treated equally, for this is the true meaning of our hard won independence and the current development drive that leaves no one and no place behind,” said the President.
As part of protecting workers, President Mnangagwa also warned companies against sitting on pensions and medical aid fees of workers.
“The incidence of non-remittance of payments for medical aid and pensions for workers by organisations will not be tolerated. I call upon workers to expose situations where they notice cases of corruption and maladministration
within organisations and institutions.”
Furthermore, the President said his Government respects the rights of workers and is enshrining laws to further protect workers from across sectors.
“My Government will continue to respect workers’ rights. As such. The Labour Amendment Bill is now before Parliament, in line with our commitment to ensure fair labour standards for all workers in Zimbabwe. The Bill is expected to further restore the dignity of workers through addressing some of the emerging challenges affecting workers.
“I challenge the leadership across all sectors of the economy to protect and advance the interest of all our workers. The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare should take a more focused and visible lead in the protection of workers’ rights.
“Increased social protection coverage and reduced worker vulnerability, anchored on putting in place robust mechanisms that improve working conditions, must be heightened,” he said.
The Workers Day was marked yesterday worldwide and the President in his speech, reached out to unionists to feel free to engage him as he is ever ready to dialogue with all Zimbabweans. – Herald