Back to Index
report of the Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare on the Labour Amendment Bill (H.B. 1, 2005)
December 20, 2005
Amendment Bill (H.B. 1, 2005)
PDF version (62KB)
If you do not have the free Acrobat reader on your
computer, download it from the Adobe website by clicking
Speaker sir, the stated government intention of this Bill is to correct
the problems encountered in the implementation of the Labour Relations
Act Chapter 28:01 as amended by the Labour Relations Amendment Act, 2002
(Act No. 17 of 2002)
1.2 Your Committee
embarked on a series of activities in its analysis of the Bill. Firstly
the Committee members were educated on the principles of the Bill by a
legal Advisor from the State University of New York / Zimbabwe (SUNY).
The Committee then held a public hearing on the Bill with various stakeholders
on the 16th August 2005, to gather their views on the Bill. The Committee
also received oral evidence from the Ministry of Public Service Labour
and Social Welfare officials on the same and then carried out a consideration
of the evidence it had gathered, with a view toward strengthening it and
making it more understandable and a practicable piece of legislation.
1.3 Mr. Speaker
sir, the Labour Amendment Bill deals with several topics, the appointment
of a Chairperson of a Works Council at a workplace, retrenchments from
employment, notice periods for termination of employment, appointment
of officials to Advisory Councils, powers of the registrar of trade unions,
maternity leave conditions and Application of the Act as well as functions
and jurisdiction of the Labour Court.
1.4 The sponsoring
Minister must be commended for coming up with this Bill and your Committee
applauds the Ministry for including the following progressive provisions,
giving the Labour Act supremacy over any other enactment inconsistent
with it, increasing maternity leave from 90 days to 98 days for female
employees who have served for at least one year in employment, repealing
Section 22 of the Principal Act that gave the Minister powers to fix maximum
wages, providing for negotiations on housing and transport facilities
in collective bargaining agreements, providing that wages and benefits
upon termination of employment shall not form part of the retrenchment
package and repealing section 56 of the Export Processing Zones Act.
1.5 Mr. Speaker
sir, your Committee set out to consider how best the proposed Bill could
be structured, taking into account the various socio-economic and political
factors at play in the country at present as well as the international
treaties that our country has ratified, specifically the freedom of Association
Convention 87 of 1947 which the Government of Zimbabwe ratified in the
year 2003 which provides for freedom of association to worker organizations
and convention 98 on the Right to organize and collectively bargain of
1948 which was ratified by our Government in 1998. The Committee also
considered the fact that Zimbabwe is a member of the International Labour
Organization (ILO) and is therefore obliged to adhere to principles of
the ILO and thus sought to come up with suggestions on improving the application
of the Bill that mirror the aforementioned.
2. General Commentary
on the Bill
2.1 Mr. Speaker sir, the Bill makes it clear that one of its purposes
is to repeal section 3 of the Labour Act and substitute a new section
3 which excludes certain categories of employees from the application
of the Act. These are specifically members of the public service. Your
committee heard two schools of thought on the implications of this provision.
On the one hand the stakeholders from labour and industry cited that the
exclusion of public servants from the application of the labour act defeats
the objectives of harmonization, which were to bring together the fragmented
Labour Laws and deprives public servants of their rights as workers. [The
right to form and belong to trade unions of their choice, the right to
free collective bargaining processes, the right to strike and the right
to access alternative and effective dispute resolutions mechanisms]. This
means that their fundamental right to form and belong to trade unions,
to bargain collectively and to engage in collective job action will be
taken away. On the other hand the Ministry argued that harmonization does
not mean being housed or mentioned under the same Act of Parliament.Harmonisation
denotes applicability of the same, similar and compatible principles governing
labour regimes whether housed under the same or different Acts of Parliament.
The Bill proposes to house civil servants under the Public Services Act.
The current Labour Act gives "right to form and belong to Trade Unions
of choice, the right to free collective bargaining processes, the right
to strike and the right to access alternative and effective dispute resolution
systems" to civil servants as much as it does to other employees.
Your Committee was assured that there was a parallel process of amending
the Public Service Act, which will transfer the principles in the Labour
Act to the Public Service Act.
2.2 Mr. Speaker
sir, your committee considered all the individual clauses of the Bill
to ensure that a solid piece of legislation is passed in this August House.
A piece of legislation that meets international standards and the regions
best practices. Your Committee therefore suggests that some individual
clauses and provisions of the Bill can be improved as indicated in this
the full document
Visit the Parliament
of Zimbabwe fact sheet
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.