AS Zimbabwe celebrated Workers' Day this week, labour leaders called for better salaries and working conditions for workers in both the private and public sectors, saying the working class had suffered for far too long.
Addressing workers at Gwanzura Stadium in Highfield here Thursday, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president George Nkiwane said it was crucial for employers to improve the welfare of their employees.
"Workers in Zimbabwe have suffered for a long time now, it is high time they got rewarded by earning salaries which are above the poverty datum line," he said.
"We are grateful that government has agreed in principle to increase civil servants' salaries to levels above the poverty datum line but we urge them to implement this agreement hastily in order to alleviate the plight of most government employees."
Nkiwane lamented the challenges affecting the economy, noting these were forcing many into the informal sector. It was crucial for government to craft strategies aimed at re-industrializing the economy so as to create employment.
Speaking at the same occasion, the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Ministry's Chief Labour Officer, Francis Mafuratidze, said the government was actively seeking solutions to address current economic challenges.
He said that the government had crafted policies, including the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, to stimulate economic growth. The government was also committed to improving workers' salaries.
The celebrations come at a time when the economy is failing to register steady growth mainly because of the illegal sanctions imposed by Western countries over a decade ago.
This has seen many being forced out of formal employment as large companies closed down or cut back on operations.