AS Zimbabwe joins the rest of the world in commemorating Workers’ Day tomorrow (Saturday), both employers and employees have called for perseverance as the country weathers the storm brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
For the second year running, the Covid-19 pandemic threatens to overshadow the annual event as countries across the globe adhere to World Health Organisation (WHO) regulations and protocols on public gatherings.
Zimbabwe has also come up with measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, among them limiting public gatherings as they are super spreaders of the virus which has claimed millions across the world.
In an interview, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president, Mr Shadreck Makombe said it is always important for nations to safeguard the lives of their citizens and Zimbabwe should be commended for doing that.
“On May 1, we will be joining the rest of the world in commemorating Workers’ Day amid the Covid-19 pandemic and it is always important to safeguard lives of workers and their families. We should all adhere to WHO and the country’s regulations and protocols to safeguard lives.
“An employee is the most important resource at any organisation and should enjoy his or her tenure at the organisation. Employers should ensure that there is a conducive working environment for the employee to execute his or her duties with little or minimum supervision. A gratified employee will ensure maximum production and high returns for the organisation,” said Mr Makombe.
He said as players in the agricultural sector, they are pleased with the developments on the ground as Government is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that farmers get the best out of their businesses.
“The 2020/21 farming season is proving to be one of the best seasons post the land reform programme. We were blessed with good rains and the farmers were up to the occasion as almost every piece of productive land was put to good use. Government has come up with lucrative producer prices of most crops and this is commendable.
“We urge our membership to ensure that their employees also get a piece of the cake after being paid for their deliveries. This will help reduce vandalism and thefts at workplaces as the well remunerated employees will feel content,” said Mr Makombe.
Zimbabwe Urban Councils Workers’ Union Mutare administrator, Mr Dickson Chaeruka, said although workers were used to gatherings and presentation of solidarity messages on Workers’ Day, this year they will adhere to Covid-19 national regulations.
“We will not gather to commemorate Workers’ Day. However, we urge employers not to take advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to exploit workers. Covid-19 should not be used to frustrate wage negotiations between employers and employees. All workers deserve respect and decent wages. Most salaries are no longer matching the poverty datum line.
“Government should also look at the minimum wage, which was last pegged at $2 549,74 through Statutory Instrument 81 of 2020. Employers should also continue providing personal protective equipment to employees as their health and safety is of paramount importance,” he said.
Mr Chaeruka added: “Cases of sexual harassment at the workplace are on the increase and these should be addressed.”
This year’s commemorations also come at a time when the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Making Finance Work for Africa Partnership (MFW4A) has released its first African Trade Finance Survey Report which provides a better understanding of the continent’s trade finances.
The bank surveyed the operations of 185 banks across Africa.
The report, which was released on April 14, commended Afreximbank for the counter-cyclical measures it took to help countries deal with the economic and health impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Vera Songwe, the executive secretary of the UNECA said the Afreximbank has also played a major role in availing a $2 billion facility to help African countries purchase 400 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccines.