TNF calls for stronger social contract, better pay Minister July Moyo

Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls

Representatives of organised labour have called for decent work and salaries indexed to the United States dollar to build a healthy workforce in the wake of a volatile environment caused by uncertainty and exchange rates, among other issues.

These, together with issues of the social contract, need to strengthen social partners, are some of the topics being discussed at the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) social dialogue retreat taking place in Victoria Falls.

The strategic planning workshop opened on Monday and ends tomorrow. The theme is: “Social dialogue for nation building.”

Representatives from a cross-section of the economy, organised business and organised labour and international partners among them from Greece and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) are attending.

Participating institutions include Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ), Zimbabwe Confederation of Trade Unions (ZCTU), Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions, Southern African Trade Union Coordination Council, Economic and Social Council of Greece and the International Association of Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions (AICESIS), Economic and Social Council of Greece and International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU).

The TNF organised the workshop to try and use experience from the region and beyond in an effort to learn from best practice and create a platform for cohesion between labour, Government and business.

Speaking at the workshop, a private consultant, Mr Request Machimbira, who is executive director for Proficiency Consulting Group, said the country could quickly realise its vision by crafting a social-wellness strategy that can be aligned to it.

Presenting on “redefining wellness as the total package” in the economy, Mr Machimbira said a national social wellness strategy can help drive the country’s development agenda.

He challenged organisations to invest in staff welfare and post incident support to workers, so as to encourage positive attitude to work.

“There is an absence of programmes and structures that support social wellness in our organisations. As a good example, grief is a threat to productivity. We need to respond to these wellness challenges including seemingly simple issues like support for workers that are bereaved who in most cases are expected to be productive instantly after the loss.

“There should be total wellness within organisations.”

“This may apply to us as TNF and as individual organisations. We need a wellness vision and national wellness strategy which speaks to various thematic areas in the Zimbabwe economic spectrum and organisations,” he said.

Mr Machimbira said there should be a social wellness dashboard that would have indicators, standards, benchmarks and ensure there are management structures.

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister July Moyo, who chairs the TNF, said tripartism would help social partners drive in the same direction with one vision of unity.

This would bring order to the labour sector as he implored ILO to work with Government.

“The ILO in Zimbabwe is strengthening tripartism, at least that is our expectation. So we welcome you, we can collectively work,” he said.

ILO director of country office for Zimbabwe and Namibia Ms Philile Masuku concurred on the need for social dialogue and effective tripartism.

The workshop continues with calls for speedy finalisation of the Occupational Safety and Health Bill to ensure workplace safety and occupational safety.

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