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Govt in climbdown over ZCTU

Godfrey Marawanyika

IN a major climbdown, government has invited the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) to the tripartite negotiating forum (TNF) in a bid to revive crucial round-table talks.

Businessdigest learnt this week that the first TNF meeting involving the ZCTU, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) and Labour officials has been scheduled for Wednesday.

Observers said the TNF talks would likely include government’s ally, the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) led by Joseph Chinotimba.

Labour minister Paul Mangwana this week confirmed the revival of the TNF, saying the ZCTU had rejoined the talks.

He, however, stressed that ZFTU would be part of the proceedings “because they now represent 40% of the private sector”.

“I am glad that the ZCTU has also agreed to come for the meeting. There is now a spirit of dialogue, which is good for the country,” Mangwana said on Tuesday.

“At the meeting, we want to look at the prices, incomes and stabilisation protocol (PISP), given what has been achieved by the monetary policy. At the same time, we will be discussing the Kadoma declaration,” he added.

The Kadoma declaration states that to achieve meaningful economic growth all three social partners — forming the core group of the vital economic-debate forum — have to promote “industrial harmony and good governance”.

TNF talks collapsed on April 23 last year after the government unilaterally increased fuel prices without consulting the labour representative body. The ZCTU pulled out of the talks accusing government of negotiating in bad faith.

Government had earlier this year threatened to proceed with the TNF deliberations without ZCTU’s input, but the meetings failed to take off.

On the PISP dialogue, stakeholders seek to agree on the production of goods so as to safeguard viability and at the same time ensure availability of commodities.

ZCTU acting secretary-general Colin Gwiyo confirmed having received invitations for the meeting and said they would attend.

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