Chamisa causes quite a stir in Parliament


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Kuwadzana East Member of Parliament Nelson Chamisa caused quite a stir in Parliament last week when he asked Public Service and Labour Minister Prisca Mupfumira what government intended to do in view of a Supreme Court ruling that employers could fire contract workers on three months’ notice without any package.

Zvishavane-Ngezi legislator John Holder said Chamisa could not ask that question because it was unfair to start interfering with court processes. Besides, he said, Chamisa had represented the company that won the case.

Deputy Speaker Mabel Chinomona said although Chamisa was a lawyer, he was a Member of Parliament and was entitled to ask questions.

 

Q & A:

*MR. CHAMISA: My question is directed to Hon. Mupfumira, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services but before I ask that question I want to thank Parliament of Zimbabwe, especially you Madam Speaker, for the Bibles that you allowed to come into this institution because there are some who believe that it is only traditionalism that work. The Bible is the only asset that is adequate here. So, I want to thank you for the Bibles.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order hon. member, may you please get to the point because a lot of hon. members would also like to pose their questions.

MR. CHAMISA: My question is directed to Hon. Mupfumira, our Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Services. Hon. Mupfumira, we have just seen the recent pronouncements of our Supreme Court of the country as regards the law relating to Labour Relations. – [AN HON. MEMBER: Inaudible interjections] –

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order hon. members, who is that one? – [HON. MEMBERS: Ndi Zhou! ndi Zhou!] –

MR. CHAMISA: My question to the hon. Minister is that, in light of the recently pronounced position that Section 12(4) allows employers to terminate a contract on notice of three months. Is Government considering to make any amendments concerning …

MR. HOLDER: On a point of order Madam Speaker. I think it is unfair if we start interfering in court processes here, he was representing that case and now he is bringing it to Parliament yet it was just in the Constitutional Court.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order the hon. member is a Member of Parliament even though he is a lawyer, he is allowed to ask questions. – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –

MR. CHAMISA: Minister Mupfumira, is Government considering to make any policy changes to cushion the workers, particularly in light of that position vis-a-vis the common law in our country?

THE MINISTER OF PUBLIC SERVICE, LABOUR AND SOCIAL SERVICES (MRS. MUPFUMIRA): I want to thank the hon. member for the question. Yes, Government as a concerned and responsible authority and part of the tripartite negotiating forum, has noted with concern the judgment passed by the Supreme Court.

We have started consultations with the tripartite members to actually understand the ruling and the way forward. As it is, it gives the employers almost a master/servant relationship whereby the worker can be summarily given notice.

At the moment, we are looking at the Labour laws and certain aspects were left out in the current Labour Act, some regulations in 1985. We are looking at those with a view to ensuring that the rights of the worker and the employers are protected. We want a win/win situation when we are talking about tripartism, it is equality not that one is master of the other one. The judgment is being reviewed by the Attorney-General and other legal departments within Government and we will come up with a position shortly.

MR. CHIBAYA: I want to thank the Minister for the response and also the hon. member, Hon. Chamisa. Hon. Minister, we already have over 700 employees whose employment has actually been terminated because of the ruling. So, what are you going to do as a Ministry to those employees who were affected by that ruling?

MRS. MUPFUMIRA: I want to thank the hon. member. As I said, we called for an urgent TNF meeting yesterday. All the issues were presented, we are consulting and remedial action of fairness will be taken. These issues are being attended to. We are consulting – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order hon. members. If we continue taking supplementary questions I do not think we will get anywhere. We will continue going round and round with one person.

MS. D. SIBANDA: Thank you very much Madam Speaker. Hon. Minister, if plans are there, why is it taking long for the Ministry to bring the amendments to this august House?

MRS. MUPFUMIRA: Thank you Madam Speaker. I want to thank the hon. member. Labour revolves around social dialogue and tripartism. We have already started the process of reforming the labour law. The draft is being considered by the tripartite members. Whilst we were reviewing it, that is when this judgment came, so obviously in our reforms we are going to look at all the implications of the judgments as well as any other amendments to the law. I thank you.

MR. MUNENGAMI: On a point of order Madam Speaker. I think this issue is a serious issue. In actual fact, I think if we had time this is the issue which we really need to be thorough with because as we speak right now, workers have been affected. If the Minister can try to make sure that at least we thoroughly discuss this issue so that at the end of the day we are seen out there as doing something. Thank you Madam Speaker – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] -.

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Are you saying all these other questions are not serious? – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections] –.

MR. MUNENGAMI: Some of the workers have been dismissed and as we speak right now, Pelhams has dismissed workers and TN Holdings has actually fired people – [HON. MEMBERS: Inaudible interjections]

THE DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order, order. Hon. member we cannot solve things here.

(847 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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