By Alois Vinga
THE International Labour Organisation (ILO) has despatched a high level delegation to Zimbabwe on a fact finding mission following numerois reports rampant labour violations.
The country has largely been lethargic in implementing internationally accepted labour standards.
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general Japhet Moyo confirmed the visit, which is set to take place between April 25 amd 29.
“Generally, ILO Missions like the one coming just set terms of reference to assist member countries in complying with ILO Conventions and other supervisory mechanism bodies’ conclusions,” Moyo said.
He said the mission, therefore, will be coming to assist Zimbabweans to implement the recommendations and conclusions made by the CAS (Committee on the Application of Standards) in 2021.
“Some of the issues that they would be looking at date back to the Committee of Inquiry (COI ) report of 2009, just to see if everything has been adequately done,” said Moyo.
Pressed to divulge the finer details prompting the visit, the ZCTU secretary declined to avail further details, urging the publication to wait for a statement that is set to be published after the visit.
However, a highly placed source, privy to the developments at hand, anonymously told NewZimbabwe.com that the high level visit was prompted by Zimbabwe’s lack of adherence to ILO’s conventions over a period spanning one and a half decades.
“You will recall that the ILO high level mission made seven recommendations to Zimbabwe in 2009, which were all accepted during the Government of National Unity era. These included the need for the government to respect the rule of law, depoliticisation of the labour law and the need to respect trade unions, among other issues,” the source said.
The source said as a result, the ILO dispatched a contact mission in 2017 to check on compliance and emphasized that the creation of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), which later came on board, would go a long way in addressing the complaints.
“However, the events which unfolded in 2021, when the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe activist, Sheila Chisirimunhu, was arrested and further subjected to forced labour, reversed the gains which the country had made, prompting the ILO to dispatch yet another fresh team to find out why Zimbabwe continues to be falling in the same trap,” the source said.
The source also alleged that on the international arena, Zimbabwe has not moved an inch in enacting the ILO conventions.
She said while government has made a commitment to repeal the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) before the ILO’s Committee on the Application of Standards (CAS) since 2009 , huge reversal steps have been made since then, which have seen the legislative piece being replaced by the Maintenance Of Peace and Order Act, which is widely seen as repressive.
“The terrain has not changed much even after bringing the Human Rights Issues into the Zimbabwe Republic Police training manuals , the environment remains tough for citizens. The workers’ organisations last demonstrated in 2018, and an attempt to besiege the streets over the 2% taxes were quashed before the demonstrations took off,” the source added.