Professor Paul Mavima
Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare
Welcome remarks by the chairperson of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF), Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Professor Paul Mavima at the main TNF meeting yesterday.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome all to the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) meeting. Your presence is reflection of the importance your respective organisations attach to the work of the TNF despite the hectic schedules.
Ladies and gentlemen, as you may recall, our meeting that was supposed to be held on 24 August 2022 did not go on as planned due to unforeseen circumstances that were beyond my control. It is unfortunate that the meeting had to be postponed and any inconveniences caused are sincerely regretted.
As chairperson, I wish to take this opportunity to give my assurances that the work of the TNF will not be in vain and will be given the necessary priority that it deserves by Government. In the same vein, you have exercised your mandate as social partners to ensure that the TNF continues to do its work in accordance with the provisions of the TNF Act.
Ladies and gentlemen, despite not meeting regularly as scheduled, it is encouraging to note that the TNF principals have been meeting frequently with the intention to continue fostering dialogue and updating each other on emerging issues, including meeting on the side-lines of regional and international meetings such as the International Labour Conference (ILC) to strategically map the way forward.
I am also pleased that the TNF Technical Committee has continued to be instrumental in the work of the TNF and has continued to diligently do its work. I am informed that the TNF technical committee convened a meeting in Mutare from 20-22 July 2022 to proffer proposals to address the current challenges facing our nation for our consideration. It is in this view that I have called this meeting to afford us an opportunity to look at the proposals so that we may try to find areas convergence and recommend concrete proposals to Cabinet.
It is critical that as we look at the proposals from our technical committee, we need to be guided by the desire to promote national cohesion and sustainable development and shun away from promoting sectoral interests of our different constituencies. Social dialogue by its nature calls for the subjugation of sectoral interests for the promotion of national good.
Colleagues, we are all aware of the challenges our nation is facing and it is important for the TNF to take centre stage as the vehicle towards effectively addressing these challenges through promoting unity of purpose and vision for a stable and prosperous Zimbabwe.
The technical committee meeting convened in Mutare was premised on the possibility of coming up with a social contract, however the desire to find convergence on the pertinent issues affecting our economy took center stage of the discussions. It is my fervent hope that we are not far from finding one another towards coming up with that social contract as espoused by the TNF Act.
Colleagues, the objective of this meeting is therefore to consider proposals from our Technical Committee on the following issues (1) Erosion of Wages and Salaries (ii) Currency exchange and Stabilisation (iii) Prices Stabilisation. The meeting will also afford an opportunity for stakeholders to update the meeting on the ongoing initiatives on issues raised.
I have also been informed that we will also get an update on the progress made on the operationalisation of the TNF, particularly the establishment of the independent Secretariat as well as the update on the ongoing labour law reform process. These are some of the outstanding issues of the TNF that should find traction and be finalised.
Today’s agenda will also look into the proposals by the Government of Zimbabwe to ratify pertinent conventions in the world of work. It is envisaged that these conventions if ratified will address some of the emerging issues we are currently grappling with.
Ladies and Gentleman, the nation is expecting the TNF to proffer effective solutions to mitigate the socio-economic challenges currently being faced. Your expertise, knowledge and insight to issues affecting the world of work cannot be underplayed. For that reason, it is without a doubt that the TNF has played and continues to play a critical role in the national discourse to promoting a stable socio-economic environment and harmonious industrial relations.
Ladies and gentlemen, let us continue to engage each other and strengthen our Social Dialogue, as this is the only way we can find solutions to challenges we may be facing as a country. Let me underscore that this institution is for us all hence we have a collective responsibility to ensure that it is alive and functioning well.
In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to express that Government remains committed in strengthening the TNF in influencing decisions on pertinent socio-economic issues that directly affect us. Regardless of the challenges that may confront us, the TNF must be able to rise to the occasion and locate itself as a key institution for proffering credible solutions towards rebuilding better our beloved Zimbabwe.