By Alois Vinga
LABOUR Minister Paul Mavima has criticised unions for pulling out of a dialogue process following a deadlock over demands by workers to be awarded US dollar-based wages.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), civil servants’ representative Apex Council and the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU) recently joined hands to snub the Tripartite Negotiation Forum (TNF) meeting in a bid to pressurise government to set US dollar pegged wages owing to the obtaining economic challenges.
The unions vowed not to return to the platform unless government and employers agreed to their demands.
However, speaking to NewZimbabwe.com Saturday, Mavima said the stance by workers’ representatives frustrated current efforts to strengthen social dialogue in the country.
“The whole idea of the TNF is to bring the social partners that are government, labour and business together. So, vowing not to attend TNF is essentially saying we cannot dialogue whereas dialogue is the process which will bring us to a social contract,” he said.
He said Zimbabweans should never contemplate abandoning any dialogue process especially after having walked a long way together and achieved a legislated TNF which is now moving towards incepting an independent secretariat.
“My understanding is that labour would want to get feedback from cabinet on the issue which had been critical in the last TNF meeting we held.
“This concerned the pegging of salaries in line with the US dollar based minimum wage as at October 2018.
“Definitely, there is going to be a response once the cabinet has discussed the report of the TNF together with the statement that labour issued and we will call the TNF to share that report,” Mavima said.
The Labour Minister said the only way to achieve such demands was to meet halfway in the spirit of dialogue.
“We are equally concerned about the demands and labour will get feedback. However, the only way that response would come is with the convening of the TNF,” he added.