Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
THE International Labour Organisation has offered to provide technical assistance to Zimbabwe in its labour law reform process so that it meets international standards.
The pledge was made by the assistant director-general and regional director for Africa, Mr Aeneas Chapinga Chuma, when he met Government, labour and employers representative when he visited the country last week.
In a statement, the ILO Country Office said the organisation would assist in capacity building processes.
“He (Mr Chuma) expressed ILO’s readiness to provide technical assistance through sharing international good practices on labour law reform processes in line with international labour standards and the comments of the ILO supervisory bodies.
“The ILO is also ready to support capacity building initiatives for the tripartite partners to constructively engage their constituents in the reform process,” reads part of the statement.
Mr Chuma also commended Government’s efforts to continue with labour law reforms saying dialogue was the only way that could lead to a social contract.
The statement said: “In his discussions with the Minister (Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, Prisca Mupfumira) and social partners, Mr Chuma acknowledged and commended the efforts to continue the broader labour law reforms through dialogue and encouraged the social partners to effectively engage Government in the process.
“The regional director emphasised the need for partners to continue and broaden the dialogue to include consultations at bipartite and national level on issues of wages, productivity, investment and growing the economy; focusing on creating more decent jobs. This could lay the foundation for a social contract,” he said.
He said Government should remain focused on creating jobs to ensure economic growth that would improve the livelihoods of the people.
“The regional director also reiterated the need to progressively strengthen labour market governance and social dialogue through an effectively functioning Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF). The TNF can be the bedrock to facilitate effective dialogue for the establishment and strengthening of institutions, such as the National Productivity Institute, national employment councils and implementation of the principles of the Kadoma Declaration on a shared national socio-economic vision,” added the statement.
The visit by the ILO regional director came when amendments to the Labour Act were passed by Parliament outlawing employers’ common law right to dismiss workers unilaterally without compensation.
Since the Supreme Court passed the judgment upholding the employers’ right to fire workers on July 17 at least 25 000 workers have lost their jobs on three month’s notice.
The Labour Amendment Bill sailed through Senate on Thursday without amendments and is now awaiting Presidential assent.