[QODLink]
Africa
Zimbabwe workers ignore strike call
Union calls for mass action as food and fuel shortages continue.
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2007 16:40 GMT
Supermarket shelves are empty in Zimbabwe, which is suffering from severe food shortages [EPA] 

Zimbabwean workers have largely ignored calls by trade union leaders to stage a general strike over Zimbabwe's economic crisis.
 
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) had called for mass action for Wednesday as spiralling inflation and severe food and fuel shortages continue to ravage the country.
But reports showed shops and businesses were open in Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, and witnesses said the strike had failed to take off in other major centres around the country.
 
With almost a quarter of people in jobs earning less than a dollar a day, many cannot afford to stay away.
"Things are hard enough already and I cannot afford to stay at home and gamble with my job or my security," said a worker at a textile company.
 
One woman told Al Jazeera: "If you can consider our salaries, they are very low. But what you do when you are at work is what counts. Maybe you can use the phones ... that's why you have to go to work - for that phone call, which is free."
 
Boycott ignored
 
The union's planned two-day work boycott had been intended to increase pressure on Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, as his government grapples with inflation, officially put at 6,592.8 per cent.
 

"We want jobs and food on the table for the people of this country and we hope this is the key to resolving the national crisis"

Nelson Chamisa,
MDC spokesman

Wellington Chibebe, the ZCTU secretary general, described the response to the boycott as "mixed".
 
"We are touring the industrial areas right now and we have noticed that some factories are opened, but what we have also noticed is that some workers did not turn up for work," he said.
 
Al Jazeera's Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare, said that while the strike seemed to be having little effect, talk in the capital was focusing on the deal reached by Mugabe's government and the two factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) a day earlier.
 
In a compromise deal on Tuesday, both factions of the MDC agreed to a constitutional amendment that allows parliament to elect a new president if the incumbent does not serve a full term.
 
Compromise
 
This move would effectively allow Mugabe to choose his successor, provided that he stood down.
 
Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the faction of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai, denied that the opposition had caved in.
 
Instead, he said the agreement was a result of negotiations with Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
 
"We want jobs and food on the table for the people of this country and we hope this is the key to resolving the national crisis," he said.
 
Critics say Mugabe's economic policies, which include ordering businesses to stop raising prices and salaries to try to tame inflation, have brought Zimbabwe to its knees.
 
Mugabe denies the allegations and accuses Western powers, which have imposed targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe, of sabotaging the country's economy and plotting with the opposition to oust him.
Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.