On the 1st of May every year Zimbabwe joins the international community in celebrating International Workers’ Day. The 2024 commemorations theme is “Social Justice and Decent Work for All”. 

The International Workers Day is an opportunity to celebrate and publicise labour rights that are guaranteed under Sections 24 and 65 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

These include the right to decent work and the payment of fair and reasonable wages. Such rights should be fully protected and respected to ensure improved living standards for all. 

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) applauds the Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ) for coming up with the “Decent Work Country Programme (2022 – 2026)” in fulfilment of its obligation under Social Development Goal 8 (SDG 8) to ensure decent work and economic growth.

Indeed legislative and policy measures have been adopted to promote decent work. However, many people still work under deplorable conditions characterised by: unfair dismissals; unfair labour practices; low remunerations; non-payment of remunerations; delay in payment of pensions and erosion of monetary values of pensions. 

At present, most workers earn a salary of United States Dollars and a local currency component in line with the multi-currency policy. The country is currently in transition from ZW$ to the new ZiG currency.

The ZHRC appreciates the monetary authorities’ efforts to stabilise the economic environment through such reforms and is hopeful that the policy measures will succeed so as to safeguard the value of incomes, savings and pensions for workers. 

Over the years, the informal sector in Zimbabwe has increasingly absorbed many of the citizens who have failed to secure employment in the formal sector. However, this category of workers faces challenges of working in hazardous and unregulated spaces, leading to vulnerability, arrests, harassment and confiscation of their wares and demolition of market stalls and workplaces by law enforcement agencies. Such actions have the effect of depriving informal workers of their sources of livelihood.

The ZHRC calls on the authorities to effectively facilitate the operation of the informal sector through progressive policies as well as inclusive and human rights based development planning. 

ZHRC wishes all workers, a Happy Workers’ Day and encourages continuous engagement for improved working conditions.

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