Zimbabwe Government Workers to Strike Over Surge in Fuel, Food Prices

Zimbabwe Government Workers to Strike for High food costs (News Central TV)

Fuel and food costs are skyrocketing in Zimbabwe as pressure mounts on government workers who have now given notice to strike due to high inflation and an out-of-control exchange rate.

Zimbabwe is experiencing an economic catastrophe that President Emerson Mnangagwa’s administration is working to reverse. As a result, Harare has been obliged to tighten the monetary sector, implementing measures intended to limit US dollar purchases in order to support the local currency, the Zimdollar, which has been having trouble staying afloat.

Additionally, with the price of gasoline set at $1.77 and the cost of diesel at $1.80, food costs for essentials like bread have been rising to around $1.20, and occasional shortages have occurred as a result of the government’s request that bakeries maintain low pricing.

Teachers and employees in the public health sector are among the government workers who have given notice to strike on July 19.

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“The Public Service Association, the Fed of Zim Educators Union and Nurses Federation of Zimbabwe hereby give notice of a service wide industrial action within 14 days,” said the public servants in a notice served to the Ministry of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare.

They also advised that “the industrial action hereby notified” for July 19 is in respect “of a long overdue cost of living adjustment that speaks to the food basket” cost which has been spiking.

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate has increased to over 200 percent due to high food and fuel prices. Some experts believe that the central bank’s response of raising interest rates from 80 to 200 percent is insufficient to address the rapidly deteriorating situation.

The Zimbabwean central bank is “operating the loosest monetary policy in the world, serving exclusively the interests of a small number of huge corporations and impoverishing the common folks in the street,” according to economist Brains Muchemwa.

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Consumers who are paid in local currency are under more strain as a result of higher interest rates.

Zimbabwean labor union leaders have criticised the government for using arrests as a tool of repression against union leaders. This comes after a leader of teachers in rural Zimbabwe was detained last week.

“While the arrest of trade union leaders intensify, the cost of living rockets, the parallel market exchange rate reaches record high, impoverishing thousands of workers whose salaries have remained very low,” Japhet Moyo, leader of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said at the weekend.

High inflation fuelled by rising food and fuel costs are stoking up civil unrest in regional and international economies.

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According to the World Bank, “growth in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to stall in 2022,” dropping from 4 to 3.6 percent.

“The slowdown reflects short-term disruptions including a global economic slowdown and persistence of health, financial, food and political crises effects,” notes the World Bank.

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