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Vol 38 No 15

Published 18th July 1997


Zimbabwe

More pay, less graft

Another spate of strikes points to corruption and economic mismanagement

Zimbabweans have plenty to be discontented about. Strikes have brought workers onto the streets from banks, hotels, municipalities and the transport, clothing, textile, cement, railway and construction industries to demand and win pay rises of more than 30 per cent. This follows similar rises awarded to public sector workers earlier this month. Yet this doesn't compensate for the collapse in living standards since the World Bank-backed economic reforms started in 1990; since then, real wages have fallen by 40 per cent and inflation has averaged over 25 per cent a year. Worse still, in the same period some 900,000 people have come onto the labour market but only 50,000 new jobs have been created. Fuelling the workers' anger are the tales of grand corruption and nepotism circulating in Harare. Perhaps one of the most heinous cases was the pillaging of war veterans' pension fund by senior officials of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

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