GOVERNMENT has reportedly blocked plans by civil servants’ labour unions to have prominent labour lawyer Rodgers Matsikidze appointed to chair the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) arguing that the lawyer had won too many labour cases against government, NewsDay has learnt.
by PHILLiP CHIDAVAENZI
Matsikidze yesterday said although he had heard that his name was rejected, he was yet to receive official communication.
“I have not yet been briefed of the outcome as I have only heard about this through the grapevine,” he said.
“Some workers’ representatives had come to me and asked for my CV because they wanted to submit my name for the chairmanship. Personally, I was willing to do the job so that we have progress in our labour sector.”
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said Matsikidze’s CV was rejected together with that of Matsikidze’s legal partner Caleb Mucheche and former Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) president Tendai Chikore.
“Chikore was rejected on the basis that she is a former chairperson of the government workers’ side,” Majongwe said.
“But for Matsikidze, whom we really felt could be of great value in the post, we were told that he is young and he had won too many labour cases against the government.”
Majongwe added that they were worried by the decision to bring back former NJNC chairpersons Britto Chimbunde, Ignatius Chigwedere and one identified as O Jambwa.
“Could this be another case of recycling? This is really sad,” said Majongwe, adding that they needed dynamism and new people who could foster progress.
He challenged government to ensure that there was no more delay in having workers’ non-monetary demands addressed given that the employer had stated its position that it was incapacitated to hike salaries.
“If this is really a pro-poor and pro-people government, they must now quickly do something for civil servants, not necessarily giving money, but other things like (residential) stands and security of tenure. Thousands of government workers have no houses or significant pensions,” he said.
The labour movements are now awaiting Labour minister Prisca Mupfumira to select two representatives from the three names presented to her.