via Govt ready to engage stakeholders to improve labour laws – NewsDay October 10, 2015
GOVERNMENT says it is ready to engage all stakeholders in order to improve the labour laws as employers and workers told a conversation platform hosted by Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) of a plethora of concerns regarding the recently amended Labour Act.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Ngoni Masoka told the AMH conversation that government was ready for dialogue to improve the recently amended labour Act which lawyers, employers and workers say fell short of their expectations.
“The tripartite negotiating forum is also consulting on the on-going labour law reform with a clear mandate of growing the economy as stated in the economic blue print ZimAsset and the Kadoma declaration (a labour agreement policy document),” Masoka said.
“As government we are ready to talk and fine-tune the amended law to include all issues which have been left out in the process.”
Parliament in August passed the amended act to curtail a job carnage that saw up to 30 000 workers fired after a July 17 SupremeCourt ruling which allowed employers to terminate workerscontracts on three months’ notice.
Employers confederation of Zimbabwe President, Joe Kahwema, said as an organisation representing business, the new law failed to stimulate investment and they were challenging at least six clauses.
Among the clauses Emcozseeks removed include a provision which compels employers to pay all workers they fired as from July 17 a two weeks’ salary for every year served as termination package.
“We are saying, if you in a marriage and the other partner decides to go, it should be treated the same when the other partner decides to terminate the marriage. There is nothing threatening as being a society where if doors are locked from outside and you are inside, but you can’t go out. This is one aspect that put off investors,” Kahwema said.
The conversation which AMH hosted along with its partners, Hivos and Scanlen and Holderness ran under the theme: A labour law regime to stimulate economic growth.
It was also attended by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union‘s vice president Peter Mutasa, a human resources specialist, Memory Nguwi and International Labour Organisation country’s director, HopolangPhororo.
The ZCTU leader said government should not focus much on dealing with the labour crisis in the country but deal with the reasons why there was a labour crisis.
“We need to deal with the toxic politics that we have in the country that are hindering investment. A good labour law although necessary, it would be responsible for attracting investment until we deal with issues such as corruption, human rights, policy consistence and so on,” Mutasa said.
Nguwi told the discussion that cutting down labour as what happened after the July 17 court ruling did not help grow the company if they were no strategies to grow revenue.
He said most executives were cutting down on labour thinking that it was the problem affecting their investment when in fact they were to blame.
The ILO director said government should focus on solving the economic crisis bedevilling the country and the labour crisis was just a tip of an iceberg of the state of affairs in the economy in general.