Local employers did not turn up for an emergency Tripartite Negotiating Forum meeting held in Harare on Tuesday where representatives of labour and government agreed to seek President Robert Mugabe’s intervention to remove the section that allows employers to terminate workers’ contracts on three months’ notice, businessdigest has learnt.
The Supreme Court gave employers the right to terminate employees’ contracts after giving a three months’ notice and avoid paying retrenchment packages which has resulted in carnage as companies have taken advantage of the ruling to lay off hundreds of workers.
Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe executive director, John Mufukare, said government had called for the meeting despite knowing that employers were unavailable because of a meeting they were holding in Kariba.
The job losses add to the more than 8 000 workers who were retrenched between 2014 and March this year. In the first quarter of this year, 1 011 workers were retrenched from 67 companies in addition to an estimated 7 000 workers laid off in 2014.
“The government knew very well that we were in Kariba when they called for an emergency meeting in 24 hours. It was not possible within that time to consult employers to come up with a position,” Mufukare said. “Whatever resolutions that were agreed between themselves (labour and government) we are not part of that.”
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary Japhet Moyo said even though employers representatives did not show up for the meeting, they had expressed their concerns over the ruling which has rendered employees jobless.
“The employers did not turn up for reasons best known to themselves,” Moyo said. “We gave our concerns at the TNF which was chaired by the Labour minister(Prisca Mupfumira) over the ruling and the government agreed with our concerns.”
He said they agreed to request Mugabe to urgently use his presidential powers to remove the section which allowed employers to terminate contracts on three months’ notice to protect workers whom he said had been reduced to temporary workers.