Zimbabwe - Expulsion of trade union educationists
His Excellency Robert G. Mugabe
TUR/FW 11 February 2005
Expulsion of two trade union
The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), which represents 148 million workers through its 234 affiliates in 152 countries and territories, including Zimbabwe, strongly condemns the deportation of trade union educationists Bobby Marie and Vichemina Prout.
Both were in Zimbabwe at the request of the Southern Africa Trade Union Co-ordination Council (SATUCC) to discuss with the ICFTU-affiliated Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) the issue of establishing a trade union school for workers in Southern Africa. They arrived on 9 February 2005 and were immediately deported.
Reportedly, immigration authorities at the airport had instructions to ensure that trade unionists entering Zimbabwe are cleared by the Ministry of Labour. This action by the Zimbabwean authorities, Mr. President, can by no means be justified in a country that sees itself as a democracy in which basic trade union rights are respected.
Furthermore, this is the third similar incident in a row, after your government already expelled an international trade union delegation on Tuesday 26 October 2004, and applied the same measures on Wednesday 2 February. The most recent events demonstrate yet again that trade unionists in Zimbabwe are not free to meet and discuss matters of mutual interest with their colleagues.
The ICFTU fully supports the position of its Nairobi-based regional organisation ICFTU-AFRO. It has already presented a summary of both events as additional information to its complaint with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and will of course include Wednesday's facts as well.