via Labour laws to undergo further amendments – NewsDay Zimbabwe September 17, 2015
THE labour law will undergo further amendments during the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament, President Robert Mugabe has said.
BY VENERANDA LANGA
According to the correct speech he was supposed to read during the official opening of the Third Session of the Eighth Parliament on Tuesday, Mugabe said the Labour Amendment Bill was hastily crafted and signed into law last month.
He said there were concerns of social partners, namely employers, trade unions and government, which were not taken aboard.
“Mr Speaker, the Supreme Court ruling on the common law position regarding the termination of employment contracts triggered job losses.
Regrettably, the compelling need to move with speed on the matter found the social partners rather unprepared,” Mugabe’s speech read.
“This resulted in some of their proposed amendments not being factored in at the time the Labour Amendment Bill was tabled in Parliament. Government, nonetheless, remains committed to take on board the social partners’ concerns for further amendment of the Labour Act.”
Before the Labour Amendment Act was signed into law, almost 30 000 people had lost their jobs after a Supreme Court ruling that said employers can fire their workers by merely giving them three months’ notices.
Mugabe then recalled Parliament to amend the labour law, and it resulted in new clauses being included that stipulated that employers were mandated to pay two weeks’ salary for every year served.
As soon as the labour law was amended and assented to by Mugabe, workers’ and employer organisations said there were many loopholes that needed to be plugged through further amendments.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said the provision of two weeks’ salary for every year served was unacceptable, adding that Section (3) of the Act allowed employers to apply for exemption to pay the minimum retrenchment package if they could not afford it.
The amendment in Section (3) of the Labour Amendment Act stipulated that an employer can apply for exemption to the Retrenchment Board, and if there is no response within 14 days, then the application is deemed successful.