25 July, 2012Workers at Zimbabwe’s state owned utility, ZESA, have been suspended after a threatened strike on 10 July 2012. The President of Zimbabwe Energy Workers’ Union (ZEWU), Angelina Chitambo, is amont those that have been suspended along with two other elected officials of the union, Tariro Shumba and Dennis Mukote.
Union members were legitimately aggrieved by the disregard that ZESA has shown for the collective agreement reached in January this year. The agreement, which entitles workers of thee lowest pay grade to a wage increase from US$190 to US$275, was upheld in arbitration. However, management now claims that it is unable to afford the wage increase.
Jyki Raina, General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union, sent a letter to ZESA, in which he says, “IndustriALL Global Union stands with our affiliate ZEWU in their demand that ZESA reinstates all suspended workers, including union leaders and institutes the bargaining agreement.”
ZEWU President, Angelina Chitambo, who is also a member of the Executive of IndustriALL, has been particularly targeted for statements made to the press. Together with two other union leaders, she has been accused of inciting protest at ZESA, which is clearly a case of victimization of these unionists for carrying out their organizing duties.