Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter
The Tripartite Negotiating Forum meets today, with social partners expected to get a briefing on deliberations from Cabinet regarding salaries and wages after the parties reached a deadlock last month.
In the meetings held last month, Government and labour on one side agreed that there should be a minimum wage, while business rejected the proposal.
Today’s meeting is the third involving the parties to the TNF, which held two meetings last month seeking solutions to the erosion of wages and salaries by runaway price increases.
TNF chairperson and Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima is expected to brief other social partners on Cabinet’s deliberations and resolutions about salaries after parties agreed to have the matter taken up for guidance, as they had failed to agree.
In an interview yesterday, Prof Mavima confirmed today’s meeting, saying it was important that social partners meet to discuss issues affecting people.
“Yes, we are meeting tomorrow,” he said.
“I will communicate to the TNF the views of Cabinet about the issue that we had referred to it. After that I think we will instruct the setting up of a technical committee to pursue the issue further. Thereafter we will have to meet again, probably after two weeks.”
Business representative, Dr Israel Murefu, said they looked forward to today’s meeting and emphasised that the issue of salaries was important.
“Our understanding from the communication we received is that TNF will be getting a feedback on its recommendations to Cabinet, which were quite varied, although we have not been furnished with the actual agenda,” he said.
“While we appreciate that the issue of minimum wages is urgent and important, it is pertinent to reiterate that business has already proposed its preferred approach. To my knowledge, that approach has not changed.”
Asked if business was not stalling progress, Dr Murefu said it was important that social partners engaged with an open mind to find lasting solution to the economic challenges.
“I am not aware that business is stalling progress and in my view progress is when there is a meeting of minds of TNF partners and where there is no meeting of minds the parties must put in place a mechanism of resolving that impasse,” he said.
“The economy has problems and it is incumbent upon the partners to find possible solutions to arrest the situation rather than play the blame game. Focus must be on finding solutions and a way forward as opposed to pointing figures. After finger pointing, the partners still need to engage and find each other.”
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general, Mr Japhet Moyo, said they were keen to get feedback from Cabinet on minimum wage.
“Yes, we have received communication about tomorrow’s TNF and we are looking forward to hearing what guidance Cabinet has given,” said Mr Moyo.
In the last TNF meeting, it was agreed that Government should continue to operate within its budget, strive to maintain a stable exchange rate, desist from using borrowing facilities at central bank and that there should be elimination of all quasi-fiscal activities by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Channelling of all subsidies and quasi-fiscal expenditures should be done through Treasury alone, the meeting agreed.
It was also agreed that there should be measures to make foreign currency available in a transparent and market driven system.
The meeting adopted a recommendation to expedite agreed public sector and
parastatal reforms, including implementation of the National Code and Corporate Governance.