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AG’s legal team produces Labour Act second draft

THE Attorney General’s office has produced a second draft of the amended Labour Act which was discussed by the three parties to the Tripartite Negotiating Forum late last month, businessdigest has learnt.

By Kudzai Kuwaza

The meeting involved representatives of business, labour and government. Deputy director in the ministry of labour Langton Ngorima was the spokesman for government at the meeting.

“The AG’s office came out with the second draft which was discussed, with preparations being made to produce the bill which will be taken to Parliament. The government is very serious about this,” an insider involved in the negotiations told businessdigest.

Sources said although business was generally happy with the second draft, labour complained that most of their contributions had been left out of the second draft.

Prominent labour lawyer Rodgers Matsikidze presented the initially proposed changes to business based on the 13 principles agreed by the three social partners after being assigned by government to do so.

The bill put together by Matsikidze proposed that if there is dispute over retrenchment between an employer and affected employees, then both parties will be given 30 days to resolve their differences. Should the two parties fail then the issue will be taken to the retrenchment board which must come up with a resolution within 30 days.
During this period, the draft bill states, the retrenched workers will remain employed at the company until the board makes a determination.

In the case where a company makes an application to the board to be exempted from the retrenchment package of two weeks pay for every year served, the bill proposes that the board be given 30 days to come with a response.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions had initially objected to Matsikidze’s appointment and had contracted a retired judge to draft its own amendments to the Labour Act but agreed to then adopt Matsikidze’s draft bill after further negotiations.

The amendment of the Labour Act was as a result of the Supreme Court ruling in July 2015 which allowed workers to dismiss workers on three months’ notice without paying a retrenchment package.

It resulted in thousands of workers losing their jobs.

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