Employers finalise draft on job cuts

Martin Kadzere Senior Business Reporter
EMPLOYERS have finalised a draft document showing their position on the amendment of labour laws including a proposal for the payment of one-week salary for every year served when retrenching. While Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe executive director Mr John Mufukare declined to disclose details some delegates who attended the meeting the employers’ confirmed this position.

Mr Mufukare, however, confirmed that employers have come up with the final draft document on what they expect in the amendments.

“We have reached a position from an employers’ perspective and we will soon be sending the document to our president and to other leaders within the Tripartite Negotiation Forum for endorsement,” said Mr Mufukare, but declined to disclose further details.

However, The Herald Business understands that some of the proposals that employers have agreed on included maintaining the employment termination on notice.

The employers said the termination on notice should not be misconstrued as a way of avoiding the “expensive” retrenchment route while the packages should be regulated.

If the employer decides to retrench, it is being proposed that workers should receive one week pay for every year served. However, employers can pay more than the regulated package.

“Zimbabwe is seen as a high labour cost destination,” said one delegate who attended the meeting. “As such, our proposals have taken into consideration the need to promote foreign direct investment in the country. It is not like employers are against Government but we keen to support its efforts to revive and grow the economy.”

While reforms on the labour laws are being worked on, employers agreed to desist from taking advantage of the recent court verdict to “unjustifiably” terminate contracts.

“Another issue that was raised was to do with reckless termination of contracts by employers who are taking advantage of the recent Supreme Court ruling. We said it is not right.

“We have heard reports of employees who were facing disciplinary hearing but have lost their jobs because employers are taking advantage of the ruling to terminate contracts on notice,” said another person who attended yesterday’s meeting

Two weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled that companies can lawfully terminate employee contracts at any time without offering them packages, provided they are given at least three months’ notice. Some labour experts described the ruling as a serious threat to job security while others said it was in line with the economic trends.

Industrial Physcology Consultants managing director Mr Memory Nguwi said it would be “catastrophic” to attempt to reverse the judgment which triggered massive job losses as companies took advantage of the verdict to streamline labour costs.

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