Workers Unite and Fight Back !
6 March 2017 – International Socialist Organization Solidarity Statement – Government Workers Strike
Hospitals are now being run by soldiers and student nurses. The government has frozen the recruitment of junior doctors as part of the IMF austerity program and it continues to arrogantly refuse to improve the working conditions of doctors. Doctors have been striking for three weeks and patients continue to suffer with some dying due to lack of medical assistance and care. Nurses have joined the strike action demanding their 2016 bonuses and in solidarity with the doctors. Not only are doctors and nurses being exploited and subjected to unbearable working conditions, ordinary people , the patients are also being discriminated on the basis of wealth and class as most hospitals are now privatised and charging very high medical fees. The government is clearly showing its true colours, as a heartless regime which only cares about the interests of the rich and the politically well-connected that are treated in South Africa, India and Singapore. The President is always globetrotting , last year his endless travels gobbled $42 million. But a hundred or a couple hundred million dollars in bonuses is considered too much for over 500000 government workers!
Civil servants have been very patient with the government. They have been engaging the government through their participation in the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) represented by the Apex Council. They have been demanding their payment of bonuses in cash & the government has offered three alternative bonuses in the form of mainly non-monetary incentives such as housing stands. The housing stands are progressive as they provide an opportunity for workers to build their own homes but they are coming at a complicated huge cost of monthly deductions of the salaries which are already below the Poverty-Datum-Line & on top of that an automatic stoppage of payment of bonuses for several years. After failing to agree with unions , the government through the despised, infamous and notorious Public Service Commission is now trying to undermine unions using divide and rule tactics by bypassing unions and engaging workers directly using intimidation.
The government is very hypocritical, it spent over $500 million in free grants for 15000 black capitalist farmers under the command agriculture scheme who never paid a cent for the land but now it is demanding workers to pay for small portions of farmland partitioned into housing stands! Workers must be given land in the same way it was given to farmers. The Reserve Bank (RBZ) through ZAMCO has bailed out fatcats by assuming over $1 billion of bad debts given to politicians and capitalists after assuming another $3 billion through the RBZ Debt Assumption Act in 2015 but it cannot recruit more doctors and improve the working conditions of doctors who are toiling day and night to save lives! During such a difficult time when hospitals are in crisis, the head of state Robert Mugabe travelled to Singapore for his medical check-up, shunning as usual the local hospitals which lack adequate medical infrastructure and drugs.
The 6 March sit-in strike action which has been called by the Apex Council is the only language which the government has proven to historically listen to. If the government remains unbendingly and zealously arrogant and refuse to adequately respond to workers demands , the sit-in strike has to be escalated to a full-blown strike.Apart from the 1996 General Strike, the 6 July 2016 Shutdown which was led mainly by striking government workers and combi drivers forced the government to back down and urgently respond in less than 48 hours by paying salaries. To achieve victory on 6 March demands the class unity of all the striking workers; the doctors, nurses, teachers & all other sections of the working class. The grievances of the doctors, nurses, teachers & workers in general are the same, its time to build workers class power.
Shinga Mushandi! Shinga! Quina Msebenzi! Quina International Socialist Organization: email- firstname.lastname@example.org