Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
Cabinet has approved proposed amendments to the Labour Act that are expected to protect both employers and employees. The amendments have been triggered by massive job cuts in the past two weeks following a Supreme Court ruling that common law still subsisted.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of a Zanu-PF Politburo meeting yesterday, party spokesperson Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, said the revolutionary party expected the Labour Act amendments to be expedited to protect workers who have been on the receiving end of late.
He said: “The law, which has led to massive retrenchment of workers, was being reviewed to contain a possible crisis in the labour market.
“The Labour law amendment Bill will be presented to Parliament shortly as it has already been approved by Cabinet.”
While Cde Khaya Moyo was reluctant to get into the details of the proposed amendments, he said the ruling party was hopeful that once passed by Parliament, the amendments would bring the job loss situation under control.
He said the amendments sought to protect both employers and employees and plug loopholes that in the Act as currently constituted.
Cde Khaya Moyo said in the event that further loopholes were identified after the amendments have been passed, Government would not hesitate to amend the Act again.
While some quarters have been imploring President Mugabe to invoke the Presidential Powers to halt the job terminations, Cde Khaya Moyo said the ruling party believed amendments to the Labour Act were ideal.
“As I said, nobody wants to see any worker suffer. There is nobody who is also keen to see the Presidential Powers invoked. We don’t want to go that route.
“There is a Labour Act. There were loopholes or there are loopholes in it. We have looked at it and the lawyers have looked at it and I believe that in their wisdom the amendment shall suffice. So we don’t want to take any other route,” said Cde Khaya Moyo.
Workers unions claim that over 18 000 people have been fired countrywide following a Supreme Court ruling on July 17 allowing companies to terminate employment on three months notice.
He said during President Mugabe’s introductory remarks, he condemned land grabs in the city where it was also revealed that some party youths were extorting money from those who wanted land.
“There was a long debate on illegal settlements, which are mushrooming across the country particularly in large cities for example Caledonia in Harare.
“There are a lot of young people who have been going around extorting monies from innocent citizens for the purpose of these settlements. “This must stop forthwith because the law enforcement agents are going to be pursuing this matter with utmost vigour,” he said.
Cde Khaya Moyo said the politburo mandated Local Government, Public Works and National Housing Minister, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere to issue a “very strong statement on this matter and also to handle the challenge with utmost urgency.
“We are hearing of thousands of dollars taken from people promised stands which are not even theirs. We cannot as a party of discipline accept such misconduct which is criminal.”
He said party officials who will be found on the wrong side of the law would be dealt with according to party rules and the Constitution.
Cde Kasukuwere who is the national political commissar also briefed the politburo on recent by-elections that were won by the revolutionary party as well as primary elections that were held in Marondera Central and Mbire constituencies that were won by Cdes Lawrence Katsiru and Douglas Karoro.
Primary elections will be held in Epworth on Sunday following the death of Ambassador Amos Midzi.
There have been numerous cases of people whose houses were demolished after they were hooked into buying stands on land not suitable for habitation.