The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on Friday ordered civil servants to cancel their planned march over poor salaries on the pretext that the situation in the country is tense.
About 16 unions representing civil servants under the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPTSU) had planned to hand over a petition to the government over poor salaries today.
On 26 March, the police wrote to the Unions, allowing the march to go ahead, reported NewZimbabwe.com.
But on Friday morning, three police vehicles with armed anti-riot officers were deployed to the Public Service Association (PSA) building at Livingstone Avenue and Third Street, Harare.
The police officers instructed the civil servants’ representatives to defer the march.
Addressing journalists during a press conference, PCPTSU secretary-general, David Dzatsunga, said:
We had intended to hold our march to serve the ministries of Labour and Finance respectively and parliament with petitions over civil servants’ salaries, but the police informed us that the situation in the capital is tense.
The police alleged our procession could end up being hijacked by some other unscrupulous elements, leading to an uncontrollable chaotic situation.
It is for that reason that we had to defer the march to sometime soon.
Certainly in the coming week, we should be able to do that action, which is overdue.
Dzatsunga said they wrote to the Ministry of Public Service and Social Welfare several times requesting an urgent meeting to deliberate on civil servants’ conditions of service. Said Dzatsunga:
We have written to the ministry of Public Service four times now requesting an urgent meeting.
It is common cause that the current economic environment, the hyper-inflationary environment, and the exchange rate madness that is facing us as a nation, are hitting hard on civil servants and all workers in general.
The ministers have not replied to our correspondence to date. Ministers prefer to talk about our grievances through the press without engaging us.
We believe this is not professional, as we write to them officially.
He also criticised the Government for suspending teachers who failed to report for duty last term due to incapacitation.
The Government also deducted the teachers’ salaries and summoned them to appear for disciplinary hearings.
Dzatsunga described the move as victimisation and harassment of civil servants by the Public Service Commission (PSC).