Cablegate: Labor Response Awaits Consensus

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

270905Z Aug 03




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Summary. Since the deadline has passed on the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions' (ZCTU) July 29 ultimatum
to the GOZ demanding resolution of the cash crisis (reftel),
no threatened "unspecified action" has materialized. It now
appears that a ZCTU National Council meeting will not take
place until August 30. Given that the Congress of South
African Trade Unions (COSATU) holds its annual congress
beginning September 12, this may delay retaliatory action
until late September. End summary.

2. (SBU) After the ZCTU's demand that the GOZ resolve the
ongoing cash crisis, speculation about the threatened
stayaway has filled the press. However, labor sources report
that much of the senior leadership has been out of the
country rallying international support for ZCTU's position.
The Secretary-General has been in Australia, consulting with
colleagues; the Vice-President and Assistant
Secretary-General have been consulting with associates in

South Africa. Lovemore Matombo, the President of the ZCTU,
reports that the ZCTU has received a groundswell of support
from its international labor colleagues. However, while he
does not commit to action by a certain date, he hopes to
translate these assurances into tangible support for the
ZCTU's next action.

3. (SBU) A National Council meeting is expected on August
30, when all of the leaders will have returned to Zimbabwe.
Although Matombo previously stated that mass action could be
commenced within five days of that meeting, COSATU's national
congress in mid-September might slow things down
considerably. As stated reftel, ZCTU remains aware that yet
another stayaway, without some new pressure, will probably
fail to bring any resolution. If the ZCTU plans to call on
COSATU to support a stayaway by joining in an effort to close
the border, it may have to wait until its South African
counterpart is not otherwise occupied.

4. (SBU) Comment. No concrete plans for another mass action
have yet been revealed. There is no end in sight to the
ongoing cash crisis, and the situation continues to
deteriorate for the rank-and-file workers. The ZCTU has
somewhat painted itself into a corner, promising a response
when it was fairly apparent that the GOZ lacks the will to
resolve the cash crisis. If, as suspected, the ZCTU plans to
call on COSATU in a joint response, that call could be
delayed until late September. End comment.


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