MASVINGO – Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) has condemned police’s attack on striking Hwange Colliery mine workers’ wives.
The women were subjected to violent manhandling, leading to many being injured and four being hospitalised at Hwange Colliery Hospital, causing collective outrage over the police’s heavy-handedness.
ZCTU made an impassioned plea to government, through the ministry of Labour, to rein in the police officers who attacked unarmed civilians.
“What is shameful is that the police used force and violence on unarmed civilians, and worse still women who have borne the brunt of an unscrupulous management at Hwange Colliery which has failed to honour its obligations,” Last Tarabuku, ZCTU acting information officer, said.
“We call upon the Home Affairs and Labour ministers to rein in their baton wielding police officers to stop this brutality and act in a sane manner.”
ZCTU said the police action was in violation of the International Labour Organisation conventions of the freedom of association and expression, and also the country’s new Constitution that guarantees the right to strike.
Charity Charamba, the police spokesperson, said: “I don’t know anything about that.”
Efforts to get a comment from Hwange Colliery were fruitless as acting general manager, Jemester Chininga was unreachable while the mine spokesperson Burzil Dube was also unavailable.
George Nkiwane, the ZCTU president, said the police action was shameful.
“It’s so shameful that the same politicians who were busy making promises to increase wages and salaries for workers during the campaign period are now watching while striking workers demanding their dues are brutalised,” Nkiwane said.
He said the incident at Hwange Colliery was disturbing as the striking workers’ wives were the ones who bore the brunt of suffering when their husbands are not paid.
He demanded politicians in government, including President Robert Mugabe, to own up to their election promises.
“The elections are over now and we are almost three months on and nothing has been done to raise workers salaries,” he said.
“The politicians came to the people making all sorts of promises but now they are silent. We now can see that they are liars and people should learn and make informed decisions in future when they go for polls.”