17 October 2017

Zimbabwe: ZCTU, Govt Clash Over Interference

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has confronted government over its failure to streamline ministerial powers that interfere with trade union activities in the draft of the amended Labour Act, businessdigest has learnt.

In a letter to Labour permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka, dated September 28 2017, ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo bemoaned government's reluctance to streamline its interference in trade activities which contravenes International Labour Organisation (ILO) principles.

"We would like to raise our grave concern about the failure to include provisions to streamline ministerial powers that interfere with trade union activities, as well as provide for the full right to strike and free collective bargaining," Moyo wrote.

"Your office is aware of the comments that have been made by the ILO supervisory bodies over the years with regards to convention 87 and 98, hence our agreement in the TNF to visit the offending provisions. In our submission, we have made reference to such comments to assist your office."

He said the attorney-general's refusal to streamline ministerial powers contravened the two principles to which the country is a party to.

"Your international department must be in a position to clarify the importance of such amendments to the drafters and impress upon them that matters of labour relations have evolved from the unitarist system to pluralism with employers and employees given power to regulate their relationship and the State facilitating through regulations," Moyo said.

On the issue of Labour Court powers, he said this was an issue that should be resolved between the Labour and Justice ministries.

"With regards to Labour Court powers, we believe this is an administrative issue between your ministry and the ministry of Justice, of which the two must engage and flag out the issues of multiple courts which employees are subjected to," Moyo said.

"If a small claim court has power to enforce its decision, why is the Labour Court so undermined to an extent that its decision has to be registered with another court despite its constitutional recognition?"

He said, save for principle 7 (statutory employment councils), the ZCTU agrees they could not compel parties to be members of employment councils without offending their constitutional rights.

Business was scheduled to meet its constituency yesterday to deliberate over the draft of the amended Labour Act.

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