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Government, employers and workers’ representatives are set for a high level crunch meeting on Thursday to deliberate on amendments to the Labour Act as efforts to align laws to the new Constitution gather momentum.Employers say the Act must be amended so that it can have labour market flexibility, but labour argues that such a development would see workers losing out.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche will represent Government, while leaders of the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) and labour unions among them the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) will represent employers and workers, respectively.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare permanent secretary Mr Ngoni Masoka told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare yesterday that the meeting would consider the preliminary principles to the labour law reform.

He said Government expected employers and labour to adopt the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) principles at the same meeting before they are taken to Cabinet.

Zanu-PF MP for Gutu East Cde Berita Chikwama chairs the committee.

“Then the main amendments relating to the harmonised labour law reform principles are also being discussed on Thursday,” said Mr Masoka.

“The principles are ready and the two (TNF and harmonisation of labour laws) will be discussed also with social partners (employers and employees) so that they can be taken to a taskforce of Cabinet for them to look at.

“We are doing the harmonisation in order that the Labour Act can now be aligned to the Constitution and also be aligned to the International Labour Organisation Conventions to make sure that our laws are compliant with ILO conventions of which of course as a country we have so far ratified 26 of them.”

Mr Masoka said harmonisation of the labour law would be compliant to the new Constitution, ILO conventions and the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim-Asset).

He said employers and the workers had different views on what should be included in the Labour Act, but promised that Government would do everything possible to make sure there was consensus.

Employers argue that the Labour Act makes it difficult for them to retrench workers when they are facing challenges, while labour says allowing labour market flexibility would see workers being ill-treated by employers.

Source : The Herald

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