Employers oppose Labour Amendment Bill

Business Reporter—

EMPLOYERS have come out strongly against the Labour Amendment Bill, which seeks to stop the wanton dismissal of workers on three months notice, saying the Bill will result in further deterioration of the economy and loss of jobs. The House of the National Assembly passed the Bill without amendments on Tuesday. It is expected to be presented before the Senate today where MDC-T is expected to submit some amendments for consideration.

However, Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe said yesterday the Bill will worsen the business environment.

EMCOZ said despite having been involved in labour law reforms over the past five years, together with Government and labour, none of their contributions have been captured in the Labour Amendment Bill, thus undermining the spirit of the tripartite negotiations.

“The Government, business and labour have been engaged in labour law reform discussions for the past five years for the purpose of making the country more attractive to investors (both domestic and foreign) for the socio-economic development of Zimbabwe,” said EMCOZ in a statement yesterday.

“The outcome, House Bill 7 of 2015 (HB7 /2015), leaves the country even less attractive than it was before.

EMCOZ is made up of the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Mines, Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union, Commercial Farmers Union, Zimbabwe Farmers Union and Zimbabwe Council for Tourism.

“Business reiterates that HB7 /2015 will result in further deterioration of economic activity, resulting in further closure of companies, loss of jobs, less income to the fiscus, decline in social fabric and more importantly reduction in investor attraction into Zimbabwe

“As a result of all the above, business reiterates that it cannot associate itself with HB7 /2015.”

The recent Supreme Court ruling which allowed employers to fire people on three months notice triggered a wave of job losses with more than 18 000 people left jobless.

EMCOZ also said it was misleading to say employees being laid off were walking away with nothing after termination of their contracts. It said all permanent employees have been contributing to company administered pension schemes, NSSA and all statutory obligations – outstanding pay and contributions to pension schemes payable after termination.

“The talk of any number of years served prior to February 2009 falls in the category of liabilities that can only be addressed by the Zim Dollar,” said Emcoz.

“The whole country started afresh on February 1 2009 with the introduction of multi-currency system. On that date the country lost all its investments, reserves, including accrued pensions.”

EMCOZ said the current Minister of Public Service Labour and Social Welfare, Prisca Mupfumira, was the first to have totally ignored contributions from business and therefore the concept of tripartism.

“We believe all with the interest of the nation at heart will see the need to get this economy working again; and that is not through the HB7 /2015,” the employers union said.

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