Labour, business: Wage protests a result of govt ditching TNF

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By Alois Vinga

BUSINESS and labour representatives have blamed government for the current labour upheaval which they say was caused by the latter’s lack of commitment to the Tripartite Negotiation Forum (TNF).

The TNF is a platform which brings together business, labour and government representatives to discuss and enter into a mutual social contract based on compromise after appreciating challenges being experienced by all parties.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general, Japhet Moyo bemoaned that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s administration has been sidelining the forum.

He said the current unrest that has gripped the country’s public workforce could have been averted.

“The TNF has not met since the so-called Second Republic came into office and instead we have only had informal meetings and courtesy visits to meet the Minister of Labour.

“The last TNF meeting that dealt with a proposal to negotiate a social contract was held before the military takeover and it was when things were heating up within the ruling party,” he said.

The ZCTU chief said government could have easily taken advantage of the platform to share its vision with all the country’s key stakeholders.

He warned that failure to take advantage of TNF was likely to create disaster.

“Without any engagement at the national level to give policy direction, more labour unrest should be expected,” Moyo said.

“There should be some form of regulation on the market and that can only come from dialogue amongst the players. For now, it is the law of the jungle and survival of the fittest. That is why you see anyone who thinks has leverage over the other plays hardening,” Moyo said.

Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe president, Matthew Chimbgandah also slammed government’s reluctance towards social dialogue.

“The TNF Bill which must legalise the platforms deliberations is still going through parliament.

“We were promised by the last and current labour minister that it would be fast tracked but there nothing to show for it as yet. It is frustrating given the turmoil our economy is going through.

“Employers and labour have been knocking on government for years now and still nothing concrete has come our way,” Chimbgandah said.