Zimbabwe: Trade Union Leaders Arrested Ahead of Planned Demonstration

Brussels, 10 August 2015 (ITUC): The ITUC has strongly condemned the arrests of trade union officials in Zimbabwe on Saturday ahead of a planned demonstration against job losses.

In an affront to freedom of association and assembly, police in Harare prevented the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) from demonstrating against recent job losses, and arrested seven people, including the ZCTU President and General Secretary. Police raided ZCTU offices ahead of the planned protest, holding leaders of the country’s central workers’ union, and detaining several journalists. Those arrested were later dispersed throughout the city, as police in riot gear patrolled Harare’s central business district.

"Unfortunately, this sign of repression is no surprise but rather served to shine a spotlight on the injustice and oppression workers and their unions face. We call on the government to protect fundamental rights. The ZCTU has our full support in their fight for the rights of workers", said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.

In its annual Global Rights Index, which ranks countries against internationally recognised indicators to assess where workers’ rights are best protected, the ITUC has listed Zimbabwe as a country with "No guarantee of rights," and among the worst in the world for workers — in part due to repeated crack downs on demonstrations by police.