TNF meets over deadlock

THE technical committee of the three parties to the Tripartite Negotiating Forum, government, labour and business, were scheduled to meet yesterday to thrash out the differences over the amendment of the Labour Act, businessdigest has learnt.

Kudzai Kuwaza

This meeting, which is to be chaired by the deputy chief secretary to the President and Cabinet, Christian Katsande, comes after the Labour Law Advisory Council, which is a subcommittee of the TNF failed to agree on issues to do with retrenchment stalling the process.

“Because the Labour Advisory Council failed to agree, the negotiations have been moved up to the technical committee of the TNF,” an insider revealed. “The technical committee consists of 12 representatives from business and the same number from labour but the government will have a larger number of representatives that include those representing economic ministries.”

Business and labour are not agreed on the proposal, which stipulates that if an employer applies to the Retrenchment Board for exemption from paying a severance package and does not get a response from the board in 14 days, then that application will be deemed accepted.

The other issue where the parties differ is the appeal process to the Retrenchment Board in the event of disagreements on severance package between employers and employees. Employers are in favour of making the decision reached by the board to be final. Labour, however, insists that workers should have the right to appeal if they are not happy with the decision of the Retrenchment Board.

There are still concerns over the deadlock over the retrospective application of the law where employers are now obligated to compensate workers they dismissed using last year’s July 17 Supreme Court ruling that allowed them to do so on three months’ notice without paying a retrenchment package.

This resulted in employers taking government to court over the issue with the case yet to be heard.

Meanwhile, the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) will hold its annual congress in South Africa from August 31 to September 2 2016. This is the first time Emcoz will hold its congress outside Zimbabwe.

“We are holding our congress this year in South Africa,” Emcoz executive director John Mufukare told businessdigest this week. “The congress will be held under the theme “Managing in a Vuca environment.”

Vuca is an acronym used to describe or reflect on the volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity of general conditions and situations.