via ‘Labour amendments within a week’ | The Herald August 7, 2015 by Lloyd Gumbo
Parliament says the proposed amendments to the Labour Act can be completed within a week once the Bill is brought to the Legislature. The zanu-pf Politburo on Wednesday announced that Cabinet had approved amendments that are meant to halt a spate of job terminations that have characterised the job market in the last fortnight.
Party spokesperson, Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, said the Bill would be sent to Parliament in due course.
Acting Clerk of Parliament Ms Helen Dingani said Parliament was ready to expedite amendments to the Bill once they receive it.
She said while it was an ordinary Bill and expected to follow all the law-making procedures, the Standing Orders allowed expeditious amendments.
“When the Bill comes from the Ministry of Justice, we will gazette it and then it will be introduced in the House during the First Reading,” she said.
“It will then be referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee and the Portfolio Committee overseeing that Ministry to carry out public hearings then it will come back for Second Reading until it gets to Third Reading. However, the Standing Orders allow that if a Bill is urgent, it can be expedited, but still following the correct procedure.
“For instance the Portfolio Committee can split itself and carry out the public hearings in two days. The Parliamentary Legal Committee is not a problem because they can meet and look at the Bill and finish the job in one day.
“So on the whole, the process can be completed in a week or so.”
Although Parliament adjourned on Tuesday to September 1, 2015, Ms Dingani said legislators could be called back as soon as the Bill was brought to the legislative arm of Government and there was an expression of urgency.
Speaking to the media at the Politburo meeting on Wednesday, Cde Khaya Moyo said Cabinet had approved the proposed amendments.
While he declined to reveal the amendments, he said they were expected to protect both employers and employees.
The proposed amendments were triggered by massive job terminations that followed a Supreme Court ruling that common law subsisted.
This meant that employers can terminate employees’ contracts on three months’ notice in the same manner the latter can terminate a contract.
Labour unions claim that at least 18 000 employees’ contracts from both the public and private sector have been terminated as a result of the Supreme Court ruling.
Some of the parastatals that have already sent workers home include the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration, National Railways of Zimbabwe, CMED and the Grain Marketing Board.
Stages to follow in law making are:
1. Justice Ministry
3. Parliament Gazettes
4. Bill introduced in the House (First Reading)
5. Portfolio Committee on Public Service Labour and Social Welfare — referred to Parliamentary Legal Committee – Public Hearings
6.Second Reading — Bill opened for Debate — Amendment suggested
7. Committee Stage — Feed back — Section by Section
8.Third Reading — Bills passes in Lower House
10. First Reading
11. Second Reading
12. Third Reading
13 Presidential Assent
14 Gazetted and becomes law on date of publication