By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
Harare, August 20, 2015 – The Ministry of Labour and Social Services is liaising with other ministries to ensure that people who have lost jobs since the Supreme Court labour ruling of July 17 are thrown a lifeline, an official in the ministry has revealed.
Speaking at a public meeting organised by Crisis Coalition of Zimbabwe recently, Clemence Vusani an official from the ministry of labour and social services said apart from the Labour Amendment Bill, dismissed workers will get reprieve as his ministry was consulting with different ministries.
“While we applaud the sailing through of the labour bill in the national assembly, as a ministry we are also working hard to provide social safety nets for the dismissed workers.
“We are currently liaising with the ministries of youth,lands and rural settlement,agriculture and the ministry of SMEs that they incorporate the dismissed workers in projects that may be available in the afore-mentioned ministries,” he said.
Speaking at the same meeting, Harare West legislator Jessie Majome said the Labour Amendment Bill was a better piece but there was need for improvements which were shut out by the labour minister .
“While the bill has some progressive clauses it could have been better had the minister accepted some proposed improvements,” she said
Professor Lovemore Madhuku of the NCA also speaking at the same occasion reiterated that the labour amendment bill though commendable was still inadequate.
“It’s a welcome move by the legislature in addressing labour issues but more could have been done ,”said Professor Madhuku.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general Raymond Majongwe slammed the divisions within the labour movement, arguing that it is why Zanu(PF) continues with its stronghold on the country.
“What the country needs now is a united force not these divisions on petty issues and selfish interests.
“ZANU PF has won because it is coming to offer solutions to problems it has caused while there is a deafening silence among opposition parties unless people unite the country will continue to have these problems bedevilling it,”argued Majongwe.
However, Chris Mugaga chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce in contrast to other speakers said the labour law was quite unfriendly to the business people and said people should understand that the massive job losses are a sign of a comatose economy.
“It’s quite absurd that people are concerned with the job losses when as the business community we have been calling for the review of the labour laws which we had always said were unfriendly and people should look deep that the issue is to do with the economy,” said the economist.
More than 20 000 workers have reportedly lost their jobs without compensation following the Supreme Court ruling that allowed employers to terminate employee contracts on three months’ notice.
Among organisations which laid off large numbers of workers are ZBC,Zimpaper,Zimpost, Kingstons and TM supermarkets.
This came at a time when Finance Patrick Chinamasa was repeatedly calling for labour law reviews to ensure companies viability.
He is also mulling plans to reduce the country’s wage bill to 40 percent since currently it is gobbling close to 85 percent of the country’s total revenue.
The ruling Zanu(PF) and opposition legislators were generally united in ensuring that the Labour Bill sailed through the National Assembly
Zimbabwe has an external debt of about $7,1 billion and combined with the internal debt, the figure balloons to over $9 billion as at December 2014.