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21 March, 2013Zimbabwean affiliates met to discuss challenges they face in union building amid tensions in the country over the referendum for a new constitution; a reminder of the on-going political difficulties faced by labour.
The main objective of the workshop held over three days in March 2013 with senior leadership was to understand the union building project and establish common areas of work for the Zimbabwean affiliates. Project coordinator, Paule Ndessomin discussed with participants the IndustriALL 10 point plan and how this could be adapted to the work that would be done with affiliates under the union building project.
The workshop also incorporated training on the principles of financial management. Whilst participants understood the importance of building financially strong organizations, they all face challenging financial issues. There were robust discussions on the survival of trade unions in Zimbabwe in the worsening economic situation. Many employers are under financial stress and have not been paying deductions of membership dues to the union. Unions are receiving as little as 20 per cent of dues owed to them making it difficult to operate at full capacity.
Several of the Zimbabwean affiliates are working towards mergers as an opportunity for unions to build financial and organizational strength. This will aid them in representing workers and defending worker rights in a politically and economically strenuous environment.