By Alois Vinga
BUSINESS and Labour groupings have entered into a partnership to confront socio-economic challenges bedeviling their constituents.
The partnership came after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) , the country’s leading workers’ federation, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) alongside Zimbabwe Federations of Trade Unions (ZFTU) last Friday.
The parties agreed to work together to advance areas of concern such as; lack of honest social dialogue, challenges particularly in relation to freedom of association and protection of the right to organize Convention, fragmented social security schemes, economic challenges, rising poverty and inequality among others.
The bi-partite agreement also recognizes that the social dialogue platform, the Tripartite Negotiation Forum (TNF) is still beset with a number of challenges.
“The institutional arrangements for the TNF remain unconcluded and very few meetings have been convened since the Act came into force. Social partners in Zimbabwe continue to express concern that most critical issues and legislative reforms continue to be dealt with outside the TNF,” the document accompanying the MoU says.
The parties also intend to tackle the problem of fragmented social schemes include social insurance, social assistance, and private measures.
Social security schemes in Zimbabwe are confronted with problems arising from narrow coverage of populations (formally employed), limited resources, erosion of benefits through significant policy changes on currency in 2009 and 2019.
“The idea is to strengthen the bipartite dialogue between workers’ unions and employer organizations to improve the effectiveness of their advocacy so that they become efficient catalysts for change in the economic and labour market policy arenas,” the agreement reads in part.
Speaking at the occasion to launch the bipartite, ZCTU deputy secretary general, Runese Dzimiri expressed confidence that the parties will find a lasting solution to their problems.
“The idea is to strengthen the bipartite dialogue between workers’ unions and employer organizations to improve the effectiveness of their advocacy so that they become efficient catalysts for change in the economic and labour market policy arenas,” Dzimiri said.
“The parties acknowledge that, despite representing different constituencies, they have the same interests at their core and these common interests should be harnessed to effect positive change at a social and economic level,” he said.
He implored parties to the agreement to have an attitude of mutual respect by understanding each other’s roles, rights and obligations.