Statement on Workers’ Day

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) joins Zimbabwe and the rest of the world in celebrating this year’s edition of the Workers’ Day being held at a time when the occupational health and safety of workers have taken centre stage amidst the COVID-19 pandemic afflicting the world. Zimbabwe has so far recorded 40 positive cases of COVID-19, four of them fatal. Some of the recorded positive cases in Zimbabwe are workers.

May Day is celebrated annually by all sectors of the working class as the world reflects on the role of the worker and appreciates their valuable contribution to economic growth and development. Until recently, Workers’ Day commemorations were a hive of activities characterised by street parades and marches by working people and labour unions throughout most of Zimbabwe’s provinces. This year, the colourful May Day events will be missed, following the novel Coronavirus outbreak and the lockdown, which has been extended to the 3rd of May 2020 as the government, employers, workers and Zimbabweans at large are considering measures that guarantee the health and safety of workers and a safe working environment at all levels before normalcy returns.

ZESN notes the hardships facing workers and their families due to the prevailing economic conditions worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic. Many workers have not received their salaries and wages for the duration of the lockdown and are not guaranteed of employment post the lockdown as some of the companies employing them face closure or are scaling down operations. The future of the employee is therefore bleak.

The Network thus implores government to roll out robust and transparent national social safety net policies to cushion workers and to help stem the negative economic and nutritional impacts of COVID-19. ZESN also calls upon the Government, Private Sector and Non-Governmental Organizations to improve the working conditions of their employees, observe the workers’ rights and champion the cause of the worker.

Let us continue to heed the lockdown rules and avoid stigmatizing people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. The Virus does not differentiate on the basis of borders, ethnicity, disability status, age or gender. Above all, stay home, practice good hygiene and exercise social distancing. Happy Workers’ Day!

Source: Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)

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