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Zimbabwe Economic Partners Seek Agreement on Wages And Prices

A technical committee of Zimbabwe's Tripartite Negotiating Forum was scheduled to meet Tuesday to try to iron out differences on the wage-price protocol of the Kadoma Declaration that prevented signature of the socio-economic pact this past week.

The declaration was drafted in the Midlands town of Kadoma in August 2001.

On Friday, business and labor representatives were taking issue with a report in The state-ruin Herald newspaper quoting Labor Minister Nicholas Goche as saying that TNF members would sign the Kadoma Declaration on Tuesday.

Officials of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and the rival Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions said the declaration was adopted Thursday by business, labor and government, but that the parties could not agree on the wage and price stabilization protocol that is tied to the declaration, drafted in 2001.

ZFTU Secretary General Kenias Shamuyarira said the pact could be signed Wednesday if technical committee members meeting on Tuesday could surmount differences over the language and terms of the wage-price protocol.

Rampant inflation which reached an annual 1,729% in February has been the bane of business and labor alike, and impeded progress in negotiations. Labor wants prices held down and wages to keep pace with inflation, but businesses say they cannot freeze prices while inflation climbs or make untenable wage commitments.

ZCTU Secretary General Wellington Chibebe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the meeting Tuesday will involve only the specialist committee on wages and prices.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...