'Legislation of TNF long due'

HARARE - Labour organisations say the legislation of the tripartite negotiating forum is long overdue.

They commended government for pushing for the Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill (TNF) to be passed into an Act of law.

President Robert Mugabe recently announced that the TNF Bill is among eight bills to be discussed in Parliament this session.

“Although the TNF has pursued dialogue since its formation, its success has however, been constrained by the lack of a legal framework. To circumvent this shortcoming, a Tripartite Negotiating Forum Bill shall be tabled for discussion in Parliament during this Session,” said Mugabe at the official opening of the Fifth Session of the Seventh Parliament last week.

The unions said its adoption will validate negotiations between government, industry and labour organisations.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu said the initiative was long overdue describing Zimbabwe as a country in dire need of such a legal framework.

“It is a very welcome development. For a country like Zimbabwe, there is need for a very strong Tripartite Act to guide negotiations for national development,” said Ndlovu.

“If it had been there all along we could have seen a more civilised way of addressing challenges,’ he said.

The TNF has been in existence since 1998 in accordance with the International Labour Organisation (Ilo) Convention No. 44 as a voluntary and unlegislated chamber where key socio-economic matters are negotiated by the social partners.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary-general Japhet Moyo said although the development was positive, unions fear politicians will hamper implementation.

“The fear we have is on implementation which we know has been a challenge on many arrangements of that nature. The involved parties may agree on the arrangement but you will find one party reneging at a later stage,” said Moyo.

The Constituency Development Fund Bill, the Attorney-General Amendment Bill, the Zimbabwe Investment Authority Bill, the Mines and Mineral Amendment Bill, the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill, the State Enterprise and Parastatal Management Bill and the Diamond Bill are the other seven bills tabled for discussion. - Wendy Muperi

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