NEGOTIATIONS over the amendment of the entire Labour Act broke down last week with business and labour deadlocked over various issues that include the retrenchment process, businessdigest has learnt.
By Kudzai Kuwaza
The Labour Law Advisory Council, which is a technical sub -committee of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF), met on Thursday last week in a meeting chaired by director of labour in the Ministry of Labour Clemence Vusani to discuss the issue.
Labour and business, however, failed to agree on the way forward in terms of the changes to be made to labour legislation.
The TNF is a social dialogue platform that brings together government, business and labour to negotiate key socio-economic issues. It has been in existence since 1998 as a voluntary and unlegislated chamber in which socio-economic matters are discussed and negotiated over by the partners.
“We had the meeting on Thursday and we are now worse off than when we began the meeting. We have actually moved backwards,” a source told businessdigest this week.
“Some of the things we had agreed on have been reneged upon. We are back to square one.” Among some of the issues labour and business are divided over is how the retrenchment process will be carried out and the dispute resolution process in the event that a clash between an employer and retrenched employees arises. Government took a neutral position in the discussions as the two parties slugged it out at the three hour meeting where no resolution was made, sources revealed.
“It was a very frustrating meeting where we kept going round and round in circles,” the source said. “The negotiations to reform the laws are proving to be extremely difficult.”
With talks having broken down at the technical level, the labour law reforms will now be discussed by the TNF principals, Labour minister Prisca Mupfumira, Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe president Josephat Kawhema, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president George Nkiwane and Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Union president Alfred Makwarimba.
“Our hope is that the principals will be able to break the deadlock when they meet,” an insider said. “The date of the meeting will be set at the pleasure of the minister.”