Youth Forum Zimbabwe (YFZ) joins our nation and the rest of the world in honoring workers across the globe. However, this year’s Workers Day is different in itself. Instead of the usual celebrations, the 1st of May 2020 comes with our heads down, as we are confronted by the ravaging Covid 19 pandemic. In as much as we want to celebrate, workers find it hard especially in the face of fatalities of fellow workers as some lose lives in the fight against the pandemic. It is unfortunate that some workers are contracting the virus and succumbing to it in their line of duties.

YFZ take this opportunity to salute Zimbabwean workers and millions of their colleagues across the globe on the frontline fighting Covid 19, saving lives in the process. It is noteworthy that some of the employees on the frontline are working without adequate personal protective equipment but their commitment and desire to serve is unmatched and indeed deserve all the applauds.

As we celebrate workers today; the Zimbabwean scenario keeps flashing. It reminds us of a not so rosy status quo obtaining in our country. The nation now has very few people in formal employment as it is now highly informalized. Unemployment is over 90%, meaning that on this day, we commemorate just about 10% formally employed people.

We even expect the situation to be worse, in the face of Covid 19 as we anticipate more job losses owing to low production by many companies as a result of the lockdowns. It is thus incumbent upon government to come up with a stimulus package for entities so that we preserve the few available jobs. The few formally working people’s jobs should be safeguarded against loss. The current scenario where workers are in constant fear of job loses is traumatic to them and is rather counter-productive.

YFZ notes with concern that the grim employment statistics in the country affect mostly young people with thousands being churned into the job market yearly. The shrinking of employment prospects has mostly affected young people as the few available opportunities demand experience. The tune of experience being sung in the job market leaves young professionals most of whom at entrant level out of the formal employment pipeline, thereby facing a bleak future.

Going forward, YFZ implores the government to come up with an instrument which addresses this anomaly and make it mandatory for companies to have a youth friendly recruitment policy since there are so many capable young people in our country.

YFZ also urges government to address the issue of the shrinking economy. The job market and our employment statistics form part of the package since the working numbers reflects a microcosm of whole. The economy is in dire need of an economic stimulus that will be ably supported by a zero tolerance to corruption, nepotism, poor corporate governance and diminishing hunger for political power at the expense of economic growth. The economic well-being of the nation should be put first.

Source: Youth Forum Zimbabwe (YFZ)