Mine union pokes holes into Labour Amendment Act

Mine workers

THE Labour Amendment Act, recently signed into law by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has a lot of omissions from the initial Bill, the Zimbabwe Diamond, Mineral and Allied Workers Union (ZDMAWU) has said.

Mnangagwa assented to the Labour Amendment Act No 11 2023 last week.

In an interview yesterday, ZDMAWU secretary-general Justice Chinhema said he supported the amendments, but noted that the law had missed several points.

“We do not deny that the new Labour Amendment Act has some positives for workers, but these are not decisive,” Chinhema said.

“Positives include sections on termination on notice, contract workers, maternity rights, and a better retrenchment package regime, removal of the Labour Officer Draft ruling regimes and enforcement of certificates of settlement as well as admission of parties to the National Employment Council which definitely will benefit some of us.”

Chinhema, however, noted that the Act fell short on workers and trade union’s main demands and interests.

“It fails to incorporate or align to several fundamental rights guaranteed in the 2013 Constitution. These include right to strike, right to a fair and reasonable wage that ensures workers do not live in destitution,” he said.

Chinhema said labour autonomy and protection of workers representatives from unfair dismissal and gender balance and equity in the workplace including women employment quotas, pregnancy leave and paternity leave were also missing.

Other missing points were effective provisions on contract workers and labour broking, protection from unfair dismissal and unfair retrenchment and fair and unbiased workplace disciplinary committees.

“The failure to provide for the right to strike is the biggest weakness because this is the right which allows workers and unions to defend other rights and gain new rights. However, it’s not too late. The struggle must continue. We must now start new demands going forward starting at mine level up to NEC.

“We should demand that our collective bargaining agreements be aligned and address issues of contract signing, labour broking and creating sub-sectors that then recognise value for minerals mined to guarantee a living wage for mine workers,” Chinhema added.

“The time is now or we will continue to cry while the capitalists make super profits. Workers will continue to have nothing, while they are in employment.”

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