MDC-T stomps out of Senate in protest

via MDC-T stomps out of Senate in protest – New Zimbabwe 20/08/2015

MDC-T Senators on Thursday walked out of the Upper House during a debate on the Labour Amendment Bill after their proposed changes were rejected by Zanu PF counterparts.

The opposition party was of the view it had been promised Tuesday, when the bill was debated in the National Assembly, that their amendments would be incorporated during the Senate discussions.

But, woefully outnumbered by the ruling party, MDC-T Senators were left exposed after labour minister Prisca Mupfumira and Zanu PF rejected their proposals on Thursday.

The bill seeks to stop the on-going carnage that has characterized the job market and caused over 20,000 job losses over the last few weeks.

It sailed through the Senate Thursday without amendments as Zanu PF members blocked attempts by the MDC-T to have fresh proposals inserted, particularly a clause that deals with compensation for workers when retrenched.

The MDC-T’s amendments sought to force companies seeking to retrench to pay workers a minimum one month’s salary for every year served, two months’ salary as severance package and a month’s salary for relocation.

But workers are now likely to go home with just two weeks’ salary for every year served after Zanu PF senators rejected the proposed amendments.

After intense debate and deliberations, the MDC-T senators were defeated due to their lesser numbers in the house and had to walk out leaving Zanu PF members to celebrate and pass the bill without amendments.

“It’s very unfortunate that we have to do this,” said MDC-T senator and chief whip, Misheck Marava.

“We wanted to empower the workers and cushion them; instead our Zanu PF counterparts are interested in having the bill passed without considering the shortfalls.

“Honestly, how can a person who has worked at a company for 40 years just be paid two weeks’ salary for every year served?

“As a party that represents ordinary workers, we wanted to ensure that when a worker is being retrenched, there is something meaningful to go home with but now Zanu PF, has shown its true colours.”

At least over 20,000 workers have lost their jobs since July 17 when the Supreme Court made a landmark ruling that allowed employers to fire workers by giving them three months’ notice without any terminal benefits.

The labour bill has had to be fast-tracked as a way of stopping the job losses that also affected state owned companies.

Labour and Social Welfare minister, Prisca Mupfumira lambasted the MDC-T Senators saying they wanted to delay the process, thereby exposing more workers to be dismissed.

“We are dealing with a crisis here and for us to drag more days while our people are suffering will be unfair.

“In any case, labour law reform continues and what the MDC-T people wanted, we were going to incorporate as we go. For now we want to stop the haemorrhage,” she said.

The Bill is set to be gazetted before President Robert Mugabe signs it into law.


  • comment-avatar

    The amendments where very very few in number (if not one) so we don’t see how debating of whether 2mks or 1 months per yr served would have dragged on for more than a day. Just impossible. We all know so called employers are mostly Zanu pf people with the 1st family being among top employers. So we all know how conflicted all these zanu pf goons are – from top to bottom. If anything these zanu pf employers are more than happy to send workers home empty handed. To zanu pf its all electioneering but no heart for the workers at all.

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    Tiger Shona 7 years ago

    This one time MDC got it wrong.
    What about the companies in these circumstances that cannot afford it?
    Labor legislation with all these benefits were brought in to hammer white farmers kicked off their properties.
    MDC,don’t do this. Hammer Zanu PF for having destroyed the economy.
    Don’t punish the few remaining employers.

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    Jimminy Cricket 7 years ago

    You are quite right Tiger Shona. MDC has got it totally wrong on this one! A person gets a job for the wage /salary they earn WHILST ON THE JOB, not some perceived benefit/lucky dip they might get when it ends someday, that is what NSSA is supposed to be for. Even two weeks for every year served is too much in that it needs to be capped. Even after say only twelve years the company will have to find six months salary to pay-off the person in very difficult times when it is struggling just to pay the current month. Employers are a very, very precious thing in the country right now, let alone potential investors. Employees come and go as an unfortunate function of nature if nothing else, whereas companies live on giving sustenance to generations of employees in several cases–so why is the MDC attempting to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs with literally-bankrupting, populist ideas. GET REAL!

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    Agreed Tiger Shona, I used to have a thriving business in Zim until the farms got trashed in 2002. I was forced to downsize my business in order to continue at least with a skeleton work force. The retrenchment amounts that I had to pay actually put me out of business. ALL jobs lost. I had to sell all the contents of my house to pay off my employees. Nobody won in this situation not even the guys who got there entrenchments. One does not budget in business for the day when you have to pay entrenchments. If we did we would not be competitive. Its about time the employees realised that an employer is not the enemy but is actually a blessing. All protection for the employee and none for the employer. Is that fair?