The lie of the land: wage protests in Zimbabwe

The lie of the land: wage protests in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s civil servants will strike on Monday to protest the government’s failure to pay bonuses. The action may result in

Photo: ZNBC

Photo: ZNBC

Zimbabwe’s civil servants will strike on Monday to protest the government’s failure to pay bonuses. The action may result in a complete government shutdown.

Tensions between the state and unions are intensifying; critics say the government has engaged in union-bashing and deliberately shifted meeting times to hinder workers’ claims. Despite unions saying workers want their bonuses delivered in cash, the government insists that surveys must be undertaken to see whether workers would prefer non-cash bonuses, like land.

Shifting meeting times could be a stalling tactic – the government may be unable to deliver cash bonuses due to a shoe-string budget. Although Zimbabwe used to be one of Africa’s most advanced economies, an acute cash shortage and failure to secure new international loans have crippled the economy.

While Monday’s protests are likely to be a blow to the government’s daily operations, they are unlikely to force the state to back down non-cash bonuses.