TNF meeting ends in a huff as social partners disagree on critical issues

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By Alois Vinga

A Tripartite Negotiation Forum meeting held recently ended in a huff as social partners could not agree on issues for discussion, signifying deepening weaknesses existing in the nation’s highest social dialogue platform.

A TNF insider who spoke to on condition of anonymity said representatives of social partners who attended the meeting revealed the existence of sharp differences.

Said the source, “Representatives from labour tabled an agenda on the need to urgently resolve the current persecution of union leaders by government while business representatives set the agenda on the discussion centred on recent government’s economic sabotage accusations of their constituency in the wake of price hikes.”

The source said government’s representatives were more interested in the issue of health delivery and due to the differences, the meeting could not proceed.

Added the source, “So the representatives could not proceed with the meeting because government did not bring background papers on the discussion topics, prompting the adjournment of the meeting before discussion because the government representative could not provide concrete solutions on issues raised by labour and government.”

President Emmerson Mnangagwa launched a legislated TNF in June this year, but the platform has not made any meaningful progress since then.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president Peter Mutasa told employers at the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ) 37th congress held in Bulawayo last month that there has been no progress on the negotiating platform due to the lack of trust among the tripartite partners and lack of consultation by government.

He pointed out that social partners were not consulted and are taken by surprise when policies such as government’s ZimAsset blueprint and TSP are announced.

Even EMCOZ president, Israel Murefu told the same congress on the need for more consultation by government particularly in the crafting of statutory instruments.

He said, “So many statutory instruments are being crafted by the authorities without the input of the other parties that is business and labour. It is like the country is being run on statutory instruments.”