Guilty: ILO rules Mnangagwa offside on labour rights violations

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By Alois Vinga

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration is guilty of violating the rights of labour activists, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) ruled on Friday.

The ILO’s Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) went further to request Mnangagwa’s government to accept a high level delegation into the country. It would be the second inside five years.

In an interview with Monday, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) legal advisor, Zakeyo Mtimtema who is in Geneva, Switzerland where the ILO 108th conference is currently underway, confirmed the ruling.

“I can confirm that ILO’s CAS has found Zimbabwe guilty of violating labour rights. The ILO has made recommendationsh that include a request that the government accepts a high level mission visit which normally follows up on the progress of implementing the recommendations.

“However, government representatives attending the conference over here rejected the request to accept the ILO high level mission’s visit,” Mtimutema said.

The ZCTU lawyer said that when the case was heard by CAS, the ZCTU and the International Trade Union Confederation raised all the issues concerning arrests of workers and their leaders, dismissals of workers representatives, deaths of protestors, damage to ZCTU property, injuries of staff members and the delays to reform labour laws.

He said in response, Zimbabwean government representatives submitted that the protest actions that were staged on August 1 last year were violent hence the need to crush them.

Mtimutema added that the government delegation however, committed to respecting and observing labour and human rights.

Labour Minister Sekai Nzenza is attending the conference.

Previously, the country was listed for violating ILO Convention 98 which provides for the right to organise and collective bargaining which the government had allegedly interfered with as a result of having a hand in labour law amendments.

In 2015, Zimbabwe was also placed on the agenda for violating ILO’s Convention 105 which stipulates that member states must undertake to suppress and not to make use of any form of forced or compulsory labour as a means of political coercion or education or as a punishment for holding or expressing political views or views ideologically opposed to the established political and social or economic system.

The listings resulted in the country receiving a high level fact finding ILO delegation on a fact finding visit which resulted in the passing of recommendations aimed at improving the country’s labour market.