THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called on workers to stay at home, claiming they had received several reports of workers being harassed at army and police-manned checkpoints and failing to get transport to work due to shortages of Zupco buses.
ZCTU president Peter Mutasa yesterday said workers were facing a number of challenges for them to get to work and should only report for duty after the government fully lifts the movement restrictions and provides adequate transport.
“What we are saying is that going to work is now a risk vocation. We are also saying workers should not endanger themselves by waking up early because they would need to find transport to go to work, risking their lives to robbers and humiliation at the hands of security forces, who are asking them to go back home,” Mutasa said.
He said they had received several reports of workers who are claiming harassment at checkpoints.
“We are urging workers everywhere to go to work when they are safe and when the government wants them to do so. This is so because, at the moment it is the government which is telling the government workers not to go to work,” Mutasa said.
His call comes at a time when workers are struggling to find transport to go to work, due to shortages of Zupco buses.
The situation further deteriorated over the last two days following claims that the buses had no fuel to transport passengers.
Passengers Association of Zimbabwe (Paz) president Tafadzwa Goliati yesterday said government should also allow private players to ferry people in order to ease the transport problems.
“We want private players to carry people. We cannot be held to ransom by one player. We want people to travel on time. We should learn from our neighbours in South Africa on the way they are doing it. The Zupco monopoly is not productive. We are receiving reports from across the country about the transport challenges.
“Passengers need to have options. Our rights are being infringed upon. They drive their own cars, but we can’t do anything. People are forced to hike in lorries and are breaking the social distancing rules in line with the lockdown regulations. Crime rate is going to go up because those who were employed by kombis, no longer have anything to do,” Goliati said.
Harare plunged into chaos on Tuesday after thousands of people were left stranded, owing to transport blues, which forced several people to walk home.
This is also happening at a time when security forces on Monday barred thousands of people from entering the Harare central business district (CBD).
This also happened in Bulawayo on Tuesday, before the same reports were made in Kwekwe yesterday.
The police are on record saying that the operation was in line with the government’s lockdown regulations.