Mugabe will not stop the firing of workers

Mugabe will not stop the firing of workers
Published: 10 August 2015 (645 Views)
President Mugabe's decision not to invoke Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) to stop the firing of workers on the basis of a recent Supreme Court ruling is clear demonstration that he respects the rule of law and separation of powers, legal experts and political analysts have said.

Labour bodies have been urging President Mugabe to invoke the Presidential Powers ever since the Supreme Court handed down the July 17 judgment allowing companies to dismiss workers upon issuing three months' notice.

Companies are taking advantage of the ruling to dismiss workers.

Cabinet has resolved to expeditiously amend the Labour Act, a process started long before the court ruling.

A draft Bill, with inputs from social partners to the Tripartite Negotiating Forum, is already in place and awaits parliamentary processes.

In an interview over the weekend, lawyer Mr Terrence Hussein said President Mugabe had allowed the legislature to do its work without interference. Mr Hussein said not all critical situations required the application of Presidential Powers.

"The President has taken the correct position because Presidential Powers can and must be invoked where there is an emergency, which is not catered for in the law," he said.

"In this case, the law can deal with the situation by amending the Act and there is no need to take that route (of Presidential Powers)."

Mr Hussein added: "Zimbabwe is a constitutional democracy and people should let the legislature do its job. The President would not want to be seen usurping the powers of Parliament, hence his decision to allow the law-making process to go forward."

Several companies, including parastatals, maximised on the Supreme Court ruling to dismiss more than 20 000 workers in the past two weeks, according to labour unions.

Legal expert and former Attorney-General Mr Sobusa Gula-Ndebele said by allowing the Labour Act to be amended, the African Union and Sadc chairman was simply supporting the rule of law.

"There should be the separation of powers between the executive, judiciary and legislature and the President is respecting that by saying the law should be amended," he said.

"This is the way to go because instead of interfering with the judiciary, he is letting the proper procedure to be followed. Invoking the abrupt approach of Presidential Powers would appear as if the President is frustrating the implementation of the law"

Mr Gula-Ndebele said the Supreme Court had interpreted the law and the loopholes in the Act had to be plugged to create equilibrium in the labour market.

He said even investors, before sacrificing their finances in a particular country, scrutinise labour laws.

Political analyst Mr Alexander Rusero said the push by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions would have backfired had President Mugabe implemented it.

"There is a great difference between rule of law and rulers of law, and it is clear our President respects the former," he said.

"The push by the trade unions, especially the ZCTU, was a cynical trap meant to backfire on the President. There is an on-going process to amend the Act which is about to be completed and there is no reason for taking this hasty approach of Presidential Powers."

Mr Rusero said some labour bodies, like the ZCTU, wanted to create "something out of nothing". He said intentions by the ZCTU to stage demonstrations would fail.

"The ZCTU is still captured in the euphoric glory of yesteryear when they used to command a huge following," he said.

"The mojo was lost when they went to bed with the opposition (MDC-T party) as they ceased to be a vibrant trade union representing the aspirations of the workers. If you look at the current trajectory where there has been a ruling, and Government swiftly responded by calling for the expeditious amendment of the Labour Act, they decided to snub the crisis meetings. One wonders which employees they stand for."

The ZCTU has threatened to embark on nationwide demonstrations against the job losses, a call many workers said would not solve the crisis they were facing.


- the herald

Tags: Mugabe,
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