- Trade unions in Zimbabwe and around the world condemn the sacking of Lovemore Matombo, President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), from his position at Zimbabwe Post (ZimPost). The ZCTU leader had attended an international trade union gathering in Sudan, leading to his dismissal.
According to trade union sources, Mr Matombo had absented himself from his work at ZimPost from 5-12 January, while leading the ZCTU delegation to the 8th Congress of the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU), which was held in Khartoum, Sudan, from 6-11 January.
The prominent Zimbabwean trade union leader was accused by his employers of being absent from work without official permission yet the ZCTU, and Union Network International, had both confirmed that Mr Matombo had fulfilled standard procedures for gaining "special leave" to attend the Khartoum meeting.
This is not the first time the ZCTU leader finds himself in a conflict with his employer. Mr Matombo and three of his union's executive members were earlier suspended from work for allegedly disrupting a ZimPost board meeting on 11 December 2003.
The ZCTU President further has led the Zimbabwean trade unions in several general strikes, which in government views have been politically motivated. He also led workers at ZimPost - the country's postal operator, which was privatised in 2000 - into strike over a 80 percent pay rise in November last year.
Mr Matombo is also President of CAZWUZ, the Communications & Allied Services Workers' Union of Zimbabwe, which organises workers at ZimPost and other privatised companies stemming from the disbanded state-owned Zimbabwean Posts and Telecommunications Corporation.
Trade unions in Zimbabwe and internationally forcefully are protesting the sacking of Mr Matombo. ZCTU yesterday said it did "not rule out political influence in the handling of the matter," as the ZimPost management for a long time was said to be targeting Mr Matombo personally.
ZCTU has now demanded the "unconditional reinstatement of Comrade Matombo," and the lifting of the suspension of the three members of his union's Executive Committee by the ZimPost management, within seven days. If demands are not met, the Zimbabwean trade union is currently considering to mobilise for a national work stoppage, to protest the particular case of Mr Matombo and "the general victimisation and violation of human and trade union rights" in the country.
The ZCTU leader can count on strong international support. Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) spokesman Patrick Craven today condemned "the unfair dismissal" of Mr Matombo. The South African union calls these actions of the ZimPost management "an unfair labour practice and a gross violation of human and trade union rights." Mr Craven added that "COSATU will give its full support" to any action decided upon by ZCTU.
Also the Brussels-based International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) today strongly condemned the dismissal of Mr Matombo. ICFTU, of which ZCTU is member, in a statement said this dismissal was "arbitrary and politically motivated."
In a letter addressed to the Zimbabwean Minister for Labour, the ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder said, "This succession of events strongly suggests that Mr Matombo was in fact fired under pressure from the Zimbabwe Post Board, itself acting on political instructions." The Post Board is controlled by the Harare government.
The ICFTU today called for "an immediate reinstatement" of Mr Matombo to his position at ZimPost. The global trade unionists further underlined what they called "the hypocrisy of the dismissal since the labour leader was attending a meeting concerning African unity, which the Zimbabwean government claims to strongly support."
Finally, the ICFTU warned the Zimbabwean government that "failure to take urgent action to reinstate Mr Matombo would result in a formal complaint to the UN's International Labour Organisation (ILO) and a mobilisation of the international labour movement against his unjustified sacking."
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.