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Mass arrests of Trade Unionists in Zimbabwe

Mass arrests of Trade Unionists in Zimbabwe

Brussels: The ICFTU has condemned the actions of the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe following the arrests today of hundreds of workers, including leaders of the ICFTU-affiliated Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and of ZCTU member organisations. Large numbers of police have swamped the streets of Harare, reacting to mass public demonstrations against poverty and hunger caused by the government's catastrophic policies. At least three other trade union leaders are reported to have been arrested in the city of Bulawayo on Monday evening.

"Zimbabwean workers have been forced once again to take to the streets to protest at the Mugabe government's policies, which have led to a dramatic deterioration of living standards and widespread hunger. The heavy-handed response of the authorities, coupled with their ongoing violations of fundamental workers' rights, show once again a blatant disregard for working people and their families", said ICFTU General Secretary Guy Ryder. "We call upon the government to immediately release all those detained, and to respect the rights of working people as enshrined in international law" he added.

Today's arrests are the latest in a catalogue of anti-union repression in Zimbabwe, amidst a worsening economic crisis and growing unrest amongst the many victims of the government's policies. The ICFTU and its Global Unions partners are closely monitoring the situation, and will keep up the pressure for the full recognition of workers' rights at the International Labour Organisation and in other international bodies.

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