Labour practitioner Isaac Mazanhi has called for the sweetening of the Public Order and Security Act (Posa), which he said criminalised workers and was against the tenets of International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.
Posa replaced the Law and Order Maintenance Act (Loma), used during the colonial era to suppress basic freedoms.
Mazanhi said civil servants should also demand that the new constitution enshrines harmonisation of labour laws, so that they could have the same salary negotiating powers as those enjoyed by workers in the private sector.
“Posa must be removed because it criminalises employment relationships,” Mazanhi said.
“It talks of imprisonment or fines for those workers who might want to express their grievances by assembling, and that is in conflict with what is stipulated in the Labour Act, which is in line with ILO conventions.”
Mazanhi said ILO conventions stipulated that employment relationships should not be criminalised and said the coining of Posa was done at a time when government was trying to avert the formation of opposition political groups.
“If you look at how opposition movements were formed in this country, they were formed by workers. So, Posa was coined to reduce the influence of workers engaging in political affairs of the country,” said Mazanhi.
He said the problem with Zimbabwe was that the laws enshrined in the Constitution were not enforceable and the problem was that what is enshrined in the Labour Act was not being implemented by the employers.
He explained that Section 4 (ii) of the Labour Act cites all the fundamental rights of workers that they might need in a constitution.
Mazanhi said civil servants were the least paid workers and should fight for the harmonisation of the Public Service Act and the Labour Act.