Tuesday, August 29, 2006

International solidarity (to Z)

This news comes from the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), courtesy of a comrade on the Regional International Committee of UNISON, kept informed by UNISON’s International Department.

Wellington Chibebe, General Secretary of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) was recently released on bail. Unfortunately, the charges against him have not been dropped, and he is due to appear in court on 4 September.

M. Chibebe was arrested at a roadblock on August 15 and detained at Waterfalls Police station. The police demanded to search his car, supposedly in order to look for cash. The Government is currently campaigning to prevent currency speculation while it is conducting a major monetary reform purportedly aiming at fighting hyperinflation, which currently stands at over 1000%. At first, Chibebe was accused of resisting a police search. According to ZCTU legal sources, however, the police later deliberately changed the charges to common assault against a police officer so as to make the issue more serious, given his profile.

The ZCTU are now calling for a national strike to protest the government's skewed economic policies, specifically a sharp hike in fuel prices last week that they say has made it too expensive for most workers to travel to their jobs.

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