Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Employers and employees should negotiate a viable resolution on salaries and other terms of employment relating to leave days in light of the 21-day lockdown meant to curb the spread of Covid-19, the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) has said.
Companies that were not classified as essential service providers have not been operating since the lockdown announced by President Mnangagwa last week, while those that are operating have scaled down staffing levels.
Most workers are at home without clear legal status on their leave.
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) president Mr Israel Murefu told The Herald yesterday that whatever agreement employers and employees settled for should be within the confines of the Labour Act.
He said the national lockdown had not suspended the Labour Act, but there was need for the two parties to reach a viable agreement considering the production time lost during the lockdown.
“In light of the current situation, we are encouraging employers to save jobs as much as they can,” he said.
“There is no one size fits all approach on this matter but we are encouraging employers and employees to engage on what to do – whether to put employees on paid leave or not but all that has to be within the confines of law. The situation differs from organisation to organisation.”
Mr Murefu said some businesses such as the hospitality industry had completely stopped operations owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said negotiations between employers and employees in that sector should be done considering the situation obtaining on the ground.
“We are doing a survey together with other business organisations to establish the number of workers who have been affected by the national lockdown. We hope we will be done by next week and we will be able to advise Government and employers accordingly.”
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Henry Ruzvidzo said: “The lockdown was announced over a weekend and no opportunity was given for discussion with employees and for putting together formal arrangements with respect to the lockdown period.”
The lockdown took effect from 31 March and will run until April 20.