ZCTU on collision course with government over new currency

Harare – Main labour group, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) criticised the de-dollarisation of the economy and the subsequent introduction of the Zimbabwe dollar as legal tender calling it illegal and a violation of the Tripartite Negotiation Forum (TNF) terms.

Government on March 24 2019 through Statutory Instrument 142 of 2019 abolished the use of multi-currencies which was in existence for nearly 10 years following a period of hyperinflation in 2008 and reintroduced the Zimbabwe dollar as the sole legal tender for all local transactions.

In a press statement released on Tuesday, ZCTU said such a critical issue should have been subjected to intense dialogue and it smacks of ‘hypocrisy’ and is ‘patronizing’ for Government to unilaterally make such a huge policy announcement at a time social partners were supposed to meet on Wednesday, 26 June 2019 under the auspices of the recently enacted TNF.

TNF was established to pave way for Government’s engagement with the social partners such as business and labour groups to discuss issues affecting the economy such as price increases and labour remuneration.

In its press statement, ZCTU accused government of being dishonest and threated to pursue legal means to have the recent monetary policy measures reversed.

“We would like to note that Government has been taking its people for granted for quite some time now, lying when it introduced the bond notes in 2016 that they were adequately backed by lines of credit from Afreximbank, that the 1:1 exchange rate between the USD and RTGS$ were also backed by adequate lines of credit when they separated Nostro and RTGS Foreign Accounts (FCAs) in October 2018, and again that the inter-bank foreign exchange market would stabilize after its introduction in February 2019 on the back of ‘unproven’ external lines of credit,” the statement reads in part.

“We are therefore consulting our lawyers and we may file an urgent court application challenging the constitutionality of the policy pronouncement and that it also violent the Tripartite Negotiation Forum (TNF) Act section 3 (a), (c) and (e).”

ZCTU said its position that workers should be paid in US dollars remains unchanged and warned that if negotiations fail to bear fruit it will mobilise workers for mass action.

“The ZCTU has not moved from its position that the short-term solution is to dollarise and as such we are going into TNF to demanding US Dollar salary payments for all employees,” ZCTU said.

“If the government does not reverse this ruinous policy immediately and announce US Dollar salary payments we will mobilise workers for mass action.”

Meanwhile, government maintains that the move to de-dollarise is a critical step towards economic revival.

Earlier in January 2019, ZCTU was responsible for mobilising a nationwide demo against the fuel hikes which ended up violently resulting in massive business halts, destruction of property and loss of lives.

Equity Axis News

Raynold M

Raynold Mhotseka is a Journalism and Media Studies student at the University of Zimbabwe. He serves as a news writer at financial research firm, Equity Axis where he is currently on attachment.

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