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Zimbabwe Attempts to Address Massive 4-Day Job Cuts

FILE: President Robert Mugabe promised to create more two million new jobs in the run-up to the 2013 general polls.

Public Service and Labor Minister Priscah Mupfumira says government is talking to its Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) partners over a Supreme Court ruling that companies can terminate employees’ contracts without offering benefits.

Mupfumira told parliament that the Attorney General is studying the judgment with a view of rectifying the situation.

Responding to questions from lawmakers in a weekly Question Time session in Zimbabwe’s National Assembly, Mupfumira said government is worried about the ruling that has so far seen more than 700 workers thrown out employment since its delivery last Friday.

Kuwadzana East lawmaker, Nelson Chamisa, was the first to question Mupfumira about the Supreme Court judgment.

Mupfumira said government is talking with its T-N-F partners with a view to come up with a position that is favorable to all parties.

Lawmakers said there was need for government to move with speed to rectify the situation, adding that government is in the process of amending labor laws in the country.

But as Mupfumira was in the National Assembly, the Zimbabwe Labor Centre condemned the ruling saying it had provided an opportunity for employers to get rid of workers.

Centre director and University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, Munyaradzi Gwisai, told journalists that the judgment is a big blow to workers.

He added the judgment had opened gates for workers to be hired on cheap labor and to be dismissed cheaply. He further said permanent employment was no longer guaranteed in Zimbabwe.

Though the centre called on President Robert Mugabe to intervene, Gwisai said there is need for finding more solutions to this labour crisis.

The judgment by the Supreme court was delivered after two former Zuva Petroleum managers, Don Nyamande and Kinstone Donga, challenged the termination of their contracts by their employer.

Apart from the indigenization law, investors have over the years complained about the country’s labor laws saying they overly protect employees.

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