BY Kudzai Kuwaza
FORMAL business entities have rejected accusations that they are retarding progress in negotiations that have been taking place at the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF).
In a statement yesterday, the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) said they wanted to set the record straight after being accused of frustrating negotiations by government and labour. The TNF is a legislated platform on which business, labour and government discuss various issues. The principals of the TNF held two meetings last week.
“As organised business we had requested TNF to put in place ground rules of engagement and conduct including communication with stakeholders and the citizens at large, but our partners were not too keen on this. We believe communication of all TNF deliberations and outcomes must be agreed by all parties and made through the chairperson so that one message is sent out,” Emcoz wrote in its statement.
“Given what has been happening whereby one or more parties to TNF have been vocal in the Press with respect to TNF developments and portraying the other partner as retarding progress, it became imperative for organised business to write its own story and send the correct message. This is what necessitated the publication of this statement so that there is balance and correction of any misconceptions that may have been communicated whether deliberate or not.”
On the minimum wage, Emcoz said it was not feasible to have a national minimum wage by indexing a proportion of the August, 2018 poverty datum line to the exchange rate.
“This approach threatens a re-dollarisation of the economy because the US dollar becomes the point of reference for all pricing, including wages. The TNF has already agreed that the economy must run with the local currency with a proviso that the authorities will commit to local currency stabilisation and contain money supply to targeted levels,” Emcoz said.
“The ghost of the US dollar which continues to influence our pricing, including wages, needs to be exorcised from our minds if the transition to local currency is to become a reality.”
Business pointed out that the TNF had no mandate to engage in the collective bargaining process, as it was the prerogative of the National Employment Councils (NECs).
“We wish to reiterate that the enabling legislation does not empower the TNF to engage in collective bargaining in which case the platform is reduced to a big NEC as this would be to usurp powers of NECs. The TNF Act provides for negotiation while the Labour Act provides for collective bargaining in line with ILO conventions 98 and 154,” Emcoz said.