GOVERNMENT is making frantic efforts to bring the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) back into the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF). The Ministry of Labour which holds the chairmanshi
p of the TNF is drafting an invitation to the labour organisation to rejoin the forum. Minister Paul Mangwana said government had always wanted the ZCTU on the negotiating table.
“We have always insisted that they come back into the forum because their absence is not serving anyone. In fact, it is worsening the plight of workers,” said Mangwana. “They have always been party of the TNF and don’t need a special invite.”
The ZCTU pulled out of the discussions last year after government unilaterally increased fuel prices without the approval of other social partners, namely business through the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe.
The labour union said they were not aware of any invitation but indicated that they would not return to the negotiating forum unless their conditions were met.
ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo said the organisation had not seen an improvement in the situation since they pulled out of TNF last year.
“We have not seen readable information to that effect. We will only come back after our concerns have been addressed,” said Matombo. “The government has shown that it does not respect the law of tripartism,” he said.
“We will need the mandate of the employees to go back. Without that we will not rejoin the negotiating forum.”
NECF National spokesperson Nhlanhla Masuku confirmed on Wednesday that government was making overtures to labour.
“I understand they are being invited back into the TNF,” Masuku told journalists at an NECF press briefing. He however took the platform to lambast the labour organisation saying it did not have the interests of the workers at heart.
“Even government is more interested in the plight of the workers than the ZCTU. Employers are more interested in the plight of workers than the ZCTU,” said Masuku. “They must decide whether they want to meddle in politics or to be a proper representative of the employees,” said Masuku.
The ZCTU’s pullout from the TNF led to the collapse of tripartite discussions. Since April last year, there has been no meeting held under the TNF banner.