Delays in harmonising the country’s laws with the new Constitution has resulted in the slow progress in reviving a social contract between government, labour and business under the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF), which is seen as vital to arrest the economic slide, a junior government minister said yesterday.
The TNF is a voluntary informal platform under which the three parties discussed socio-economic matters and resolved differences but it faded as Zimbabwe’s economy weakened.
But there are calls for its revival due to the dichotomy between labour’s wage demands, falling economic activity and government policy and in March this year, a team from the International Monetary Fund met the three parties to discuss the revival of the social dialogue.
Zimbabwe adopted a new Constitution last year.
“I cannot be more serious on TNF. I have participated at personal level in almost all meetings to make sure that things do happen,” Labour and social welfare junior minister Tongai Muzenda told delegates attending the launch of a research report on the relation between economic growth, employment and poverty by the Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit (ZEPARU).
“It is getting a bit long to get it through Cabinet because of various issues, mostly because of the realignment of most laws to the Constitution.”
The report noted that the underperformance of the economy had resulted in companies scaling down operations and the informalisation of the economy has seen many economically active Zimbabweans taking up odd jobs.
“This weak link between growth and employment is associated with the dual and enclave structure of the inherited economy at independence,” read the report.
“With the wrenching structural changes that have occurred following de-industrialisation and informalisation of the economy, more than four out of every five jobs created have suffered from decent work deficits.”
The country’s largest labour union Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union says at least 10 companies have been closing shop each month since the start of the year.
“The vast majority of the population is thus locked in a low productivity; low income trap in the non-formal sectors where work sharing abounds and production is dominated by activities of a survivalist nature,” it said in the report.
“Thus going forward, strengthening the nexus between growth and employment is fundamental to sustained poverty reduction and its eradication.”
The director of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ), Godfrey Kanyenze, said lack of an independent secretariat and the ad hoc nature of the TNF limited its usefulness in coordinating policies, especially relating to the labour market.- The Source