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TNF meets over proposed Labour Act amendments

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Government, labour and business are today set to meet under the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) to look into the proposed amendments to the Labour Act, NewsDay has been briefed.

BY XOLISANI NCUBE

ZCTU president Peter Mutasa
ZCTU president Peter Mutasa

The meeting comes after labour, represented by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), contracted a retired judge to draft its own amendments to the Act, arguing that the appointment of labour lawyer Rodgers Matsikidze was not procedural.

ZCTU president Peter Mutasa confirmed today’s meeting, but would not reveal much on their demands, saying this could jeopardise negotiations by all concerned parties.

“The primary bone of contention between government and labour was to do with the procedure adopted in coming up with these amendments,” he said.

“Also, we have a number of issues that we disagreed upon and we hope we will find each other tomorrow (today) and move forward.”
The government is seeking to amend the labour law, which was last revised in 2016 following the Zuva Supreme Court ruling, which saw over 20 000 people rendered jobless within two months.

The Bill, among other issues, proposes that if there is a dispute over retrenchment between an employer and affected employees, both parties will be given 30 days to resolve their differences.

Should the two parties fail, then the issue will be taken to the retrenchment board, which must come up with a resolution within 30 days.

During this period, the draft Bill states, the retrenched workers will remain employed at the company until the board makes a determination.

In a case where a company makes an application to the board to be exempted from paying a retrenchment package of two weeks’ pay for every year served, the Bill proposes that the board be given 30 days to come up with a response.

The draft law further proposes that employers should file an urgent application before the Labour Court if the board fails to respond within the given 30-day period.

The workers accused the State-appointed drafter of the labour laws, Matsikidze, of failing to capture what had been agreed by the social partners under the TNF platform.

Mutasa said they were optimistic that common ground would be found by the three social partners.

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