ZCTU says forum waste of time without political will

Conrad Dube

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has said that the resumption of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) will be a waste of time without political commitment to its objectives.
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ZCTU secretary-general Wellington Chebebe told the Zimbabwe Independent that the labour union was wary of government using the forum as a publicity stunt without benefits accruing to members as the nation prepares for the March 2005 election.


Chibebe said: “We are concerned that without political commitment the social dialogue will become useless. The machinations by government which derailed earlier social protocols will not help the TNF go forward.

“We are mindful of the possibility of intentions to use the TNF as a publicity stunt going to the general election to portray a picture of unity among the social partners.”


He said there was need for the social partners to revisit the founding principles of TNF and show commitment to transparency, equity and fair-play among the social partners.


There have in the past been disagreements on which labour organisation is expected to attend the social dialogue between the ZCTU and the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU).


The membership conflict is however set to worsen as another labour federation seeks registration under the Labour Act.


According to a Government Gazette of December 10, the Zimbabwe Federation of Labour, which seeks to represent the interests of employees of the Kapenta Workers Union of Zimbabwe, Private Security Workers Union, Motor Industry and Allied Workers Union, and Horticulture, Ostriches, Crocodiles and Allied Workers Union has applied for registration.


This brings to four the number of labour federations in the country.

On the matter of the membership and absence of the ZFTU at this week’s meeting, Chibebe said: “We agreed that the matter had to be dealt with as part of the labour symposium. That is why they did not come. There are some issues that still have to be addressed for them to participate.”


Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) president Mike Bimha said “the issue had to be discussed by the social partners”.


Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul Mangwana however said labour would be represented by the three main labour bodies in the country.

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