ITF backs protests against anti-union repression in Zimbabwe
International Transport Workers' Federation: 28 September 2006
Protestors outside the Zimbabwean embassy in London.
Demonstrators in the UK last week voiced their outrage over a violent clampdown on trade unions in Zimbabwe as part of an international day of action. The protest, held outside the Zimbabwean embassy in London, UK, was backed by a strong ITF presence.
Organised by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), the World Confederation of Labour and the European Trade Union Confederation, the day of action was in protest against the police brutality meted out to members of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). Police targeted members of the ZCTU after they attended a demonstration on 13 September; 15 leaders and activists were subsequently tortured at Harare’s Matapi police station.
The protestors demanded that the government of Zimbabwe respect the internationally recognised labour standards it claims to uphold and refrain from harassing ZCTU members and leaders. They also called for all criminal charges against 30 ZCTU activists to be dropped – they are due to go on trial on 3 October – and for further legal action against the ZCTU as a result of the 13 September demonstration to be suspended.
Guy Ryder, ICFTU General Secretary commented: “The government of Zimbabwe has consistently violated the fundamental conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO) protecting trade union rights that it freely signed up to. These most recent incidents, including the serious injuries sustained by ZCTU leaders while in police custody, are developed in a detailed and very serious complaint against Zimbabwe that was submitted to the ILO last week.”
The international trade union movement is considering additional steps to increase the pressure on Zimbabwe to respect internationally recognised workers’ rights.
The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), founded in 1896, is an international trade union federation of transport workers' unions. Any independent trade union with members in the transport industry is eligible for membership of the ITF.
681 unions representing 4,500,000 transport workers in 148 countries are members of the ITF. It is one of several Global Federation Unions allied with the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).
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