“I Wish I Could Say Happy Workers’ Day”, Chamisa

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“I Wish I Could Say Happy Workers’ Day”, Chamisa

LABOUR DAY IN ZIMBABWE…Many are either out of work or without work, almost hopeless & jobless. Only Change can make things happen. Today is the day dedicated to all those who make efforts & never give up.

Workers United will never be defeated.I wish I could say happy Workers’ day… The wish of many Zimbwabweans is to be productive and normal citizens upon a decent wage. The dream of many young Zimbabweans is just to be workers like all other young people in other normal functional countries being profitably patriotically productive.But being a worker in Zimbabwe almost makes no sense because most of the salaries are now below $100 USD. Remember they say that those who pay peanuts get monkeys.

On the other hand, the hopes of adult citizens is to be rewarded for lifetime labour services and hardwork through meaningful social security and decent pensions.

On our part, we shall implement smart labour policies.

SMART LABOUR POLICIES
Our vision is to achieve an ethically labour conducive environment that provides opportunity for growth, human development and respect for fundamental workers rights.
We shall emphasize
• The role of labour in building Zimbabwe’s economy has not been fully recognised in development planning.
• The belief that labour is the cornerstone of sustainable national development.
• The need to attain the goal of poverty alleviation through the creation of decent jobs that provide dignity and opportunity to all Zimbabweans and at the same time, creating wealth for future generations.
• The recognition that a sound labour policy is crucial for building and sustaining a strong economy.
• The new government will ensure labour harmony and that every citizen has an opportunity to participate fairly in the labour market.
• The full endorsement of the provisions in the new constitution which provide that:
“The State and all institutions and agencies of government at every level must adopt reasonable policies and measures, within the resources available to them, to provide everyone with an opportunity to work in a freely chosen activity, in order to secure a decent living for themselves and their families” through:
(a) Full employment;
(b) The removal of restrictions that unnecessarily inhibit or prevent people from working and otherwise engaging in gainful economic activities;
(c) Vocational guidance and the development of vocational and training programmes, including those for persons with disabilities; and
(d) The implementation of measures such as family care that enable women to enjoy a real opportunity to work.”
• Within this general framework, the MDC smart government will allow free collective bargaining between labour and employers and will recognise the nexus between growth, employment and poverty reduction.

In Summary we shall promote;
• Sustainable employment creation
• Increasing worker skills and promotion of equal opportunities
• Developing a sound regulatory framework for labour issues
• Demand driven education and training systems
• Protection of workers’ rights
• Labour-employment sector relations
• Formalisation of the informal sector
• Skills retention schemes
• Institutionalisation and legalization of dialogue among all partners and government and labour and business- building a social contract
• Sustainable wages and salaries

The smart government will seek to create a harmonious labour regime in which employers and employees can co-exist to build a developed and socially just economy.

This will be achieved through the following objectives:
• Creating an enabling and conducive environment for sustainable employment creation.
• The establishment of a binding social contract.
• Linking labour supply to market demand for skills and abilities.
• Encouraging the return of skilled labour from the diaspora.
• Promoting the regulation of terms and conditions of employment through collective bargaining and through the free exercise of employers’ and workers’ right of association.
• Reactivation of the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and the apprenticeship system and a trade-testing system to ensure supply of skilled and relevent labour to the market.
• Provide conciliation and mediation facilities appropriate to national conditions to resolve disputes.
• Establish institutions for the coordination of employment services, employment promotion and creation programs, vocational guidance and training programs and unemployment benefit schemes.
• Constantly review the structures of the national system of labour administration, in consultation with social partners.

Policy Priorities

The SMART government will undertake the following:
• Pursue the stabilization of the labour markets through promoting understanding among labour leaders and workers of the broad-based and inclusive economic recovery strategies adopted by the State.
• Foster the participation of workers in the management of the companies that employ them and in share ownership schemes.
• Develop, adopt, apply and review labour standards, including all relevant laws and regulations in order to promote a harmonious labour environment.
• Creating enabling legal and regulatory framework for labour, which will foster employment creation.

Policy Interventions

Sustainable Employment Creation
The SMART government will place sustainable employment creation at the centre of its development policies. The SMART project, clearly lays a pathway for the adoption of investment friendly, employment-intensive and economic recovery programs. The formalization of the informal sector will also be given priority so as to increase labour productivity and improve wage returns and their contribution to the fiscus.

Regulatory Framework
The MDC SMART government will promote investment across all sectors of the economy through the development of a sound regulatory framework for labour related issues and by ensuring the speedy resolution of labour disputes. At the highest level this will be the responsibility of the system of Labour Courts, which the MDC SMART government will ensure, are independent, professional and deal with all labour related cases expeditiously.

Legislative Reforms
• In the past, controversial pieces of legislation have been enacted that undermine industrial and social relations and violate the rights of workers.
• These include the Public Order and Security Act, MOPA, the Access to information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Criminal Law Act and some aspects of the amended Labour Act.
• The SMART government will make sure these are immediately repealed or amended where possible so that they are in line with international best practice.
• The SMART government will, within six months of assuming office, present a new Labour Act to Parliament which, together with the required associated regulations will provide a common legal and regulatory environment for all who work for a living, in whatever sphere.
• A harmonized Labour Act will be enacted to ensure that all workers enjoy their basic rights as stipulated in the new Constitution and are able to operate in a harmonised labour environment.
• This framework will cover both State employees and employees in the formal and informal sectors. The legal framework will provide the following:
➢ Basic rights for all workers at their place of employment including freedom of association and the right to organize for the purpose of negotiating working conditions.No worker shall be punished for demonstrating to advance a cause and case.
➢ The continued pursuit for specialised Courts to handle labour disputes.
➢ Efficient procedures relating to the hiring of workers and all disciplinary processes.
➢ The establishment of Employment Councils on a sector by sector basis in order to create a sound environment for negotiations between employers and employees as well as the creation and management of a social safety nets for all workers supported by contributions from both.
➢ The mechanisms for the resolution of disputes in the labour market and for basic arbitration services when the normal processes for negotiation break down or are unable to resolve the difference between workers and employers.
➢ The rights of women, the people with disabilities, and people living with HIV/AIDS are respected.
➢ The right of workers to direct representation on Company Boards of Directors in the private sector, School and Hospital Boards and the Boards of all State controlled institutions and organisations to foster greater understanding of the needs and priorities of all such organisations and the capacity to support better working conditions and social services.

Employment Sectors.

Labour and the Private Sector
• At the epicenter of the SMART government policy will be to attain optimum levels of employment in the private sector.
• In this regard, the SMART government will create a conducive environment to enable the private sector to flourish.
• The SMART government will enact legislation that will enable the private sector to grow and attract workers while providing socially just conditions.
• This means that the SMART government will seek to create a sound working relationship in the private sector between labour and management.
• It will also seek to establish and maintain working conditions that provide workers with adequate remuneration to maintain their families and meet their personal needs.
• The guiding principle will be the creation of decent jobs, which allow individuals to express their creativity and enhance their productivity and incomes.
▪ Private sector employers will be required to take a holistic interest in all aspects related to the welfare and well being of their workforce.
▪ This will include their health, nutrition, skills enhancement, motivation, family based housing and transport.
▪ In return, workers will be expected to be loyal, honest and hard working and to seek to prioritise the interests of the enterprise for which they work.

Labour and the Informal Sector
• While the informal sector has played an important role in absorbing labour from the declining formal sector, it has not been given sufficient support and formalized to enable it to make a contribution to the mainstream economy.
• As the informal sector employs more people than the formal sector, this entails that this sector requires the development of sound policies to ensure that SMEs can expand and contribute to economic growth and sustainable development.
• Further, as there is no labour policy to regulate the informal sector, conditions of workers are often poor, characterized by lack of pensions, health and safety measures and the absence of medical cover.
• In recognizing the importance of this sector, the SMART government will formalize the informal sector by:
➢ Implementing an enabling legal framework to guide the operations of SMEs.
➢ Developing skills and vocational training.
➢ Extending social protection coverage.
➢ Strengthening the organization and representation of workers and entrepreneurs in the informal sector.
➢ Extending apprenticeship and work placement opportunities to improve and strengthen ties between business and education.

Labour in the Diaspora
Recognizing that the economic decline and political instability resulted in skilled labour going into the diaspora, the SMART government will implement a skills retention programme targeted at attracting skilled manpowered back by:
• Offering Zimbabweans with special skills relevant for reconstruction.
• Offering incentives to attract and retain relevant skills.
• Encouraging skills exchange with Zimbabweans in the diaspora.
• Creating a special purpose vehicle to identify the nature of human resources among Zimbabweans in the diaspora and offer incentives for returning home.

Wage and Salary Policies
• All sectors of the economy, working through the system of Employment Councils, will be required to fix a minimum wage for each sector, which shall be observed by all employers in that sector.
• Such minimum wages shall be guided by the official estimates of the Poverty Datum Line recognised by the Government for each sector as calculated by the national statistical services on a professional basis and updated once a year.
• It is the stated objective of the SMART to create a society where there is an established transparent relationship between the salaries for senior management and those of the average employee.
• Such salaries shall be determined on the basis that the firm or organisation is able to attract and retain skilled, capable management and senior staff and specialists, without unduly distorting the gap between the senior staff and those of the average worker.
• All companies will be required to disclose the salaries and working conditions of senior management and professionals and to report these to the national statistical services on an annual basis.
• The national statistical service will be required to publish a report on an annual basis showing the PDL and Minimum Wage for each sector and at the same time publishing the mean average salaries for senior staff in each sector.
• Wage and salary policies will strictly enforce the rate for the job, irrespective of who holds the position.

Remuneration Policies for the Civil Service

• While this policy provides for the harmonization of labour policies and for the Civil Service to be brought under the overall umbrella of national labour and social security policies, it must be noted that an MDC SMART government will go still further with respect to remuneration policies for Civil Servants.
• This is essential if the Service is to be able to attract and retain people with the requisite skills and experience to guide the implementation of a socially democratic developmental agenda.
• The fundamental principle to be followed is that Civil Servants should be able to earn salaries that compete with those in the private sector, taking into account the difference in operating conditions in the two sectors.
• To achieve this the State will facilitate a national survey of working conditions for all employees in all sectors and then employ a rough guideline to adjust salaries in the Civil Service to bring them into line with market conditions.
-This exercise will be conducted annually.

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