Government pushing re-alignment of labour laws – Minister

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By Anna Chibamu

GOVERNMENT is working hard to make sure the country’s labour laws are aligned to the new Constitution, Labour and Social Services Minister Sekai Nzenza has said.

Nzenza in a statement to mark Workers Day, Wednesday said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration besides the laws re-alignment is also working at the implementation of policies as well as mechanisms and interventions towards inclusive development for workers and employers.

With the economy effectively imploding and workers salaries eroding on a daily basis, the Labour Minister said government remain seized with the goal of stabilising and growing the economy while also ensuring labour market stability.

“Therefore, it is my expectation that as we go forward, the Bills for the amendment of the Labour Act (Chapter 28:01) and the Public Service Act (Chapter 16:04), as well as the Bill for the Zimbabwe National Productivity Institute, will be expeditiously tabled for discussion in Parliament,” said Nzenza.

Labour federation the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions has in the past few months began demanding that a minimum wage at US$600 be legalised a demand that the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe has described as “unrealistic.”

Nzenza paid tribute to social partners to the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) that includes workers unions and employers for working towards a solution to instability in the market.

“Fellow Zimbabweans, it is in this spirit that we continue to strengthen our democracy in the world of work by giving high regard to our Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) and allowing respective economic sectors to determine their conditions of service through collective bargaining.

“I wish to commend the social partners for the engagement that resulted in the tabling of the TNF Bill in Parliament. I have great hope that the August House will pass the Bill when it resumes its business this month,” the Cabinet Minister said.

“The TNF Bill which is before Parliament, at the second reading stage will provide the necessary legislative framework to ensure greater accountability and effectiveness in the work of the TNF.”

This year’s Workers Day celebrations were held under the theme “Promoting Productivity and Dialogue for Inclusive Growth.”

Nzenza said in the coming weeks, her ministry will hold a national dialogue to discuss the future of work, guided by the findings of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Global Commission on the Future of Work.

“Indeed, as a country, we need to prepare for the envisaged changes and put in place the necessary mechanisms and interventions as we work towards an inclusive development for Zimbabwe with decent work at its heart.

“I am happy to note that, we are currently finalising our national priorities for decent work initiatives for the next four years, encapsulated in the Zimbabwe Decent Work Country Programme (ZDWCP). I am happy that the tripartite technical experts, have prioritised employment promotion and International Labour standards as the two priority anchors of our Decent Work Country Programme,” she said.

“I am aware that the tripartite technical team will finalise the results matrix for the DWCP next week to pave way for the official launch of the programme.”

Nzenza, implored all social partners to support government’s two-year Transitional Stabilization Programme, that is anchored on five pillars – Governance, Infrastructure and Utilities, Macro-economic stability and financial re-engagement, Social Development and Inclusive Growth.