Tri­par­tite Ne­go­ti­at­ing Fo­rum Bill to im­prove labour re­la­tions

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Busi­ness Edi­tor

THE At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice has come up with a draft Tri­par­tite Ne­go­ti­at­ing Fo­rum (TNF) Bill as part of Gov­ern­ment ef­forts to give the fo­rum le­gal sta­tus.

The move is ex­pected to im­prove labour re­la­tions be­tween em­ploy­ers, work­ers and the Gov­ern­ment and fa­cil­i­tate tack­ling of di­verse so­cio-eco­nomic is­sues af­fect­ing the econ­omy.

Pub­lic Ser­vice Labour and Social Ser­vices Deputy Min­is­ter Tapiwa Matan­gaidze said a le­galised TNF presents a unique op­por­tu­nity for social di­a­logue be­tween the three par­ties.

He said the fo­rum has over the years con­tin­ued to be un­der­utilised be­cause of the ab­sence of a le­gal ground­ing.

“I have no doubt that col­lec­tive ef­forts, through the TNF, can present the most fea­si­ble route to ad­dress­ing chal­lenges un­der dis­cus­sion.

“It is pleas­ing that the At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice has pro­duced a fi­nal TNF draft Bill as part of leg­isla­tive devel­op­ments to give the fo­rum a le­gal per­son­al­ity,” said the Deputy Min­is­ter.

“It is be­lieved such a sta­tus will give the TNF bet­ter le­gal author­ity that is to be re­spected, bind­ing and im­ple­mentable all the time.”

The draft takes into ac­count con­cerns and in­put from stake­hold­ers par­tic­u­larly Gov­ern­ment’s social part­ners, busi­ness and labour in the TNF.

The TNF is seen as the bedrock in fa­cil­i­tat­ing ef­fec­tive di­a­logue for the es­tab­lish­ment and strength­en­ing of in­sti­tu­tions such as the mooted Na­tional Pro­duc­tiv­ity In­sti­tute, Na­tional Em­ploy­ment Coun­cils and im­ple­men­ta­tion of the prin­ci­ples of the Kadoma Dec­la­ra­tion on a shared na­tional so­cio-eco­nomic vi­sion.

Speaker of Par­lia­ment Ja­cob Mu­denda is also on record as say­ing the TNF op­er­a­tions need to be backed by an Act of Par­lia­ment so as to en­sure its cred­i­bil­ity.

“I there­fore in­vite busi­ness mem­bers to con­tinue to par­tic­i­pate in the TNF where broader is­sues in the so­cio-eco­nomic do­main can be ad­dressed through con­sul­ta­tion and ne­go­ti­a­tion with all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers,” said Matan­gaidze.

Work­ers and em­ploy­ers of late view each other with sus­pi­cion fol­low­ing the mas­sive re­trench­ments that fol­lowed last year’s Supreme Court rul­ing which gave the lat­ter the green­light to fire work­ers on three months’ no­tice.

While labour forms part of the cost driv­ers in the Zim­bab­wean econ­omy, the Deputy Min­is­ter said it was im­por­tant to award work­ers high wages to stim­u­late demand that will sus­tain pro­duc­tiv­ity and in­crease mar­kets for com­pa­nies.

“In­creased pro­duc­tiv­ity can only be sus­tained by suf­fi­cient demand in both the do­mes­tic and ex­port market, which demand is sup­ported by a ca­pac­i­tated market em­ploy­ing higher labour costs,” Matan­gaidze said.

“This clearly points to a need to bal­ance labour costs and pro­duc­tiv­ity.”

He re­vealed that in the medium to long term, his min­istry would fa­cil­i­tate the es­tab­lish­ment of a Zim­babwe pro­duc­tiv­ity in­sti­tute which would un­der­take pro­duc­tiv­ity re­search and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty­based re­mu­ner­a­tion.

Matan­gaidze urged stake­hold­ers to look at cost com­pet­i­tive­ness more ob­jec­tively and holis­ti­cally.

To him labour market is not the fore­most con­cern in terms of pro­duc­tion con­straints but ac­cess to fi­nance, open market, in­fra­struc­ture and un­ac­count­abil­ity, red tape and cor­rup­tion.

Deputy Min­is­ter Matan­gaidze re­cently en­gaged cap­tains of in­dus­try in Bu­l­awayo on the im­pact of labour costs on ex­port com­pet­i­tive­ness where he stressed the need for di­a­logue.

He, how­ever, said man­ag­ing labour costs alone “can­not be the panacea to im­prov­ing cost com­pet­i­tive­ness”.

“It is com­mon cause that ex­port com­pet­i­tive­ness is cen­tral to our coun­try’s turn around strate­gies. It is also com­mon cause that the Gov­ern­ment pri­ori­tises the work­place as an im­por­tant fac­tor in this ini­tia­tive. It is fun­da­men­tally ap­pre­ci­ated that labour costs must be prop­erly man­aged in line with the avail­able re­sources tak­ing due con­sid­er­a­tion of em­ployee rights, con­di­tions of work and ser­vice, in­dus­trial pro­duc­tiv­ity and cost com­pet­i­tive­ness,” said Matan­gaidze.

He said while unit labour costs were an in­di­ca­tor of com­pet­i­tive­ness, this should not in­crease faster than pro­duc­tiv­ity.

“In essence we are say­ing that we can im­prove our ex­port com­pet­i­tive­ness by ei­ther de­creas­ing labour costs and or in­creas­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity. Should labour costs go faster than labour pro­duc­tiv­ity, our cost com­pet­i­tive­ness could suf­fer un­less the growth is com­pen­sated for by si­mul­ta­ne­ously re­duc­ing other cost ar­eas,” said Matan­gaidze.

He ex­plained that the Gov­ern­ment has main­tained a flex­i­ble stance on labour to al­low the market to de­ter­mine the wages per sec­tor, em­ploy­ment terms and ter­mi­na­tion pack­ages.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.