The General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) is a voluntary, democratic, non-partisan and autonomous trade union organization. It promotes, advances, protects and works for the improvement of living and working conditions of workers in the agricultural sector. It is a member-based organization that was formed in 1982, registered in 1985, and certified in 1986 as a legal persona. GAPWUZ represents agricultural workers who fall into the following sectors: horticulture, general agriculture, timber, kapenta (sardine), tea and coffee.
Currently, the Union’s membership stands at more than 32,000 out of a potential of about 120,000 farm workers, which include both seasonal and contract workers. One-third of the members are females, who form the majority in the horticulture sector.
Promoting decent working conditions and eliminating gender inequalities
Under the Women@Work Campaign, GAPWUZ implements a project together with Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). The aim is to promote decent working conditions and eliminate gender inequalities in the horticulture sector in Zambia and Zimbabwe by strengthening gender committees at the farms.
Gender committees are key as an independent space for women to identify and protect their own culture, where they can speak out about concerns and identify strategies to engage with and change the male – dominant culture.
The project is enhancing awareness on the importance of gender equality in the workplace and the dangers of labor rights abuses; promoting women's labor rights through formation of networks that provide moral and psychological support; and is advocating for an enabling policy and legal framework and its effective implementation that is protective of women in the horticulture sector. Gender committees also offer safe spaces for women to discuss matters of concern amongst each other.
Activities consist of providing targeted skills training to newly installed committees members, organizing engagement meetings with farm management, and conducting educational programs on topics of sexual harassment and workers’ rights.