Government, business and labour have agreed on the removal of controversial clauses in the Labour Act, but remain deadlocked on the clause that obliges employers to compensate workers they dismissed after last year’s Supreme Court ruling, businessdigest has learnt.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
In a meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday last week chaired by legal advisor to the Ministry of Labour Precious Sibiya, the three parties agreed to remove certain clauses, including one which gives labour officers the powers to be both conciliator and arbitrator.
“The meeting went on very well with all the irritating clauses removed, but what remains in dispute is the retrospective application of the law, which obliges employers to compensate workers dismissed using the July 17 Supreme Court ruling,” a source revealed. “The government is very very anxious that employers withdraw their case at the High Court against this clause while the employers are equally adamant that they are not going to do anything of that sort unless their members are protected.”
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.
“This is an application for a declaration of the constitutional invalidity of certain provisions of the Labour Amendment Act No 5 of 2015,” Emcoz executive director John Mufukare said in his founding affidavit.
Meanwhile, employers have reacted angrily to reports in a local weekly that employers had withdrawn their court case and had agreed to an out of court settlement with government. “At no time at all have we withdrawn our class action. We were shocked by the report,” Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe president Josephat Kahwema told businessdigest on Wednesday. “While Emcoz continues to co-operate fully with government, we did not at any time have an out of court settlement.