TRIPARTITE Negotiating Forum (TNF) principals will today hold an extraordinary meeting to try and break a stalemate which emerged after employers approached the High Court, challenging some provisions of the country’s Labour Act.
Rigidity in the labour market has not only created animosity between employers and employees but has also made Zimbabwe one of the least competitive countries in the region.
The principals, attending the meeting this afternoon will be Labour minister Prisca Mupfumira representing government, Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe president Joel Kahwema representing business and Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president George Nkiwane representing labour.
The meeting comes after government told employers that it was ready to come to the negotiating table once employers withdraw the High Court case.
Employers in response said they will only withdraw their case if their members are protected from lawsuits by former employees dismissed after the July 17 Supreme Court ruling which allowed employers to do so on three months’ notice without paying a retrenchment package.
Kahwema said the three principals will meet to try and find a way forward to the conundrum that has far reaching implications to labour relations in the country.
“The issue of the court case will be discussed at the meeting,” Kahwema said. “We are hopeful that an amicable solution will be found.”
He said the dispute over the amendments was ‘a serious issue’ and hence the need to find a way forward on the issue.
Kahwema said the meeting today will not be the first time they have discussed the issue as they have talked about the dispute informally in other fora where they have met.
Employers appealed against various sections of the amended legislation including that which compels them to compensate workers they dismissed on three months’ notice without a retrenchment package as was permitted by a July 17 Supreme Court ruling this year. This has resulted in dismissed workers from at least 23 companies picketing their employers’ offices demanding compensation or reinstatement.
In its application filed at the High Court in September last year, employers said there were many areas in the Labour Amendment Act that needed revisiting by the courts, taking into account the country’s Constitution.