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Labour Act [Chapter 28:01]
As amended up to February 01, 2006

See also the Labour Amendment Act, 2005 [Act 7/2005]

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Labour Act [Chapter 28:01]1
Acts 16/1985, 12/1992, 20/1994 (s. 19), 22/2001 (s. 4)2, 17/20023 , 7/20054.

AN ACT to declare and define the fundamental rights of employees; to give effect to the international obligations of the Republic of Zimbabwe as a member state of the International Labour Or-ganisation and as a member of or party to any other international organisation or agreement governing conditions of employment which Zimbabwe would have ratified; to define unfair labour practices; to regulate conditions of employment and other related matters; to provide for the control of wages and salaries; to provide for the appointment and functions of workers committees; to provide for the formation, registration and functions of trade unions, employers organizations and employment councils; to regulate the negotiation, scope and enforcement of collective bargaining agreements; to provide for the establishment and functions of the Labour Court; to provide for the prevention of trade disputes, and unfair labour practices; to regulate and control collective action; to regulate and control employment agencies; and to provide for matters connected with or inciden-tal to the foregoing.
[Date of commencement: 15th December, 1985.]



1 Short title
This Act may be cited as Labour Act [Chapter 28:01].

2 Interpretation
In this Actó

“accreditation proceedings” means proceedings held in terms of section forty-one;

“agent union” means a trade union acting as an agent union in terms of section thirty-one;

“appropriate trade union”, in relation to any employees means—

(a) a trade union which is an agent union for the employees concerned; or
(b) where there is no agent union for the employ-ees concerned, the trade union which is registered for interests which correspond most closely to those of the employees concerned;

“assessor” means a member of the Labour Court appointed in terms of section eighty-four;

“association dues” means money levied by an employers organization in terms of section fifty-two;

“casual work” means work for which an em-ployee is engaged by an employer for not more than a total of six weeks in any four consecutive months;

“certificate of registration” means a certificate relating to the registration of an employment agency issued in terms of paragraph (a) of subsec-tion (2) of section one hundred and fifteen;

“check-off scheme” means a scheme whereby an employer, with the consent of the employees concerned, deducts union dues directly from the remuneration of his employees and remits such dues to the trade union representing them;

“collective bargaining agreement” means an agreement negotiated in accordance with this Act which regulates the terms and conditions of em-ployment of employees;

“collective job action” means an industrial action calculated to persuade or cause a party to an employment relationship to accede to a demand related to employment, and includes a strike, boycott, lock-out, sit-in or sit-out, or other such concerted action;

“compulsory arbitration” means compulsory arbitration in terms of section ninety-eight;

“contractor” means a person who renders to an employer services which are related to or con-nected with those of the employer’s undertaking;

“designated agent” mean a person appointed to be a designated agent of an employment council in terms of section sixty-three;

“disciplined force” means—

(a) a military, air or naval force;
(b) a police force;
(c) a prison service;
(d) persons employed in the President’s Office on security duties;

“dispute” means a dispute relating to any matter concerning employment which is governed by this Act;

“dispute of interest” means any dispute other than a dispute of right;

“dispute of right” means any dispute involving legal rights and obligations, including any dispute occasioned by an actual or alleged unfair labour practice, a breach or alleged breach of this Act or of any regulations made under this Act, or a breach or alleged breach of any of the terms of a collective bargaining agreement or contract of employment;

“employee” means any person who performs work or services for another person for remunera-tion or reward on such terms and conditions as agreed upon by the parties or as provided for in this Act, and includes a person performing work or services for another person—

(a) in circumstances where, even if the person performing the work or services supplies his own tools or works under flexible conditions of service, the hirer provides the substantial investment in or assumes the substantial risk of the undertaking; or
(b) in any other circumstances that more closely resemble the relationship between an em-ployee and employer than that between an in-dependent contractor and hirer of services;

“employer” means any person whatsoever who employs or provides work for another person and remunerates or expressly or tacitly undertakes to remunerate him, and includes—

(a) the manager, agent or representative of such person who is in charge or control of the work upon which such other person is employed; and
(b) the judicial manager of such person appointed in terms of the Companies Act [Chapter 24:03];
(c) the liquidator or trustee of the insolvent estate of such person, if authorised to carry on the business of such person by—

(i) the creditors; or
(ii) in the absence of any instructions given by the creditors, the Master of the High Court;

(d) the executor of the deceased estate of such person, if authorised to carry on the business of such person by the Master of the High Court;
(e) the curator of such person who is a patient as defined in the Mental Health Act [Chapter 15:12] (No. 15 of 1996), if authorised to carry on the business of such person in terms of section 88 of that Act;

“employers organization” means any associa-tion or organization formed to represent or advance the interests of any employers or groups thereof in respect of matters relating to employment;

“employment agency” means any business car-ried on for gain or reward in which employment of any nature whatsoever is either procured for persons seeking work or is offered to such persons on behalf of third parties, or in which advice in regard to such procurement or offering of employment is given to such persons or third parties, as the case may be;

“employment code” means an employment code of conduct registered in terms of section one hundred and one;

“employment council” means an employment council formed in terms of section fifty-six or fifty-seven;

“employment officer” means an officer desig-nated as such in terms of his employment in the Public Service;

“equal remuneration”, for the purposes of sub-section (2a) of section five, means rates of remuneration that have been established without differentiation on the basis of gender;

“federation” means a group of trade unions or employers organizations, each of which is representative of a single undertaking or industry;

“fixed date” means the 15th December, 1985;

“HIV/AIDS status”, in relation to any individ-ual, means the presence or otherwise in that individual of the human immuno-deficiency virus;

“Labour Court” means the Labour Court estab-lished by section eighty-four;

“labour officer” means a labour officer referred to in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of section one hundred and twenty-one;

"legal practitioner" means a person registered as such in terms of the Legal Practitioners Act [Chapter 27:07];

"managerial employee" means an employee who by virtue of his contract of employment or of his seniority in an organisation, may be required or permitted to hire, transfer, promote, suspend, lay off, dismiss, reward, discpline or adjudge the grievances of other employees;

“maximum wage notice” means a notice issued in terms of section twenty-two;

“member”, in relation to the Labour Court, means a President of the Labour Court or any assessor;

“membership fees”, in relation to a trade union or employers organization, means those fees chargeable by the trade union or employers organi-zation concerned in respect of membership or renewal thereof;

“minimum wage notice” means a notice issued in terms of section twenty;

"Minister" means, subject to section 83, the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare or any other Minister to whom the President may, from time to time, assign the administration of this Act;

“prescribed” means prescribed by regulations made in terms of section one hundred and twenty-seven;

“region” means any area within Zimbabwe de-clared by the Minister, by statutory instrument, to be a region for the purposes of this Act;

“Registrar” means the Registrar of Labour re-ferred to in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of section one hundred and twenty-one, and includes an Assistant Registrar referred to in that paragraph;

“relevant particulars” means such information and other particulars as are within the interests of a workers committee, trade union, employers organi-zation or federation, as the case may be, and which relate to the issue that is legitimately before the organization requesting such information and other particulars;

“retrench”, in relation to an employee, means terminate the employee’s employment for the purpose of reducing expenditure or costs, adapting to technological change, reorganising the undertak-ing in which the employee is employed, or for similar reasons, and includes the termination of employment on account of the closure of the enterprise in which the employee is employed;

“Retrenchment Board” means the board estab-lished by regulations made in terms of section seventeen to consider matters related to the re-trenchment of employees referred to it in terms of section twelve C;

“seasonal work” means work that is, owing to the nature of the industry, performed only at certain times of the year;

“technical or vocational education” means education provided at a technical or vocational institution;

“technical or vocational institution” means an institution registered as such in terms of the law relating to technical or vocational education;

“trade union” means any association or organization formed to represent or advance the interests of any employees or class thereof in respect of their employment;

“unfair labour practice” means an unfair labour practice specified in Part III, or declared to be so in terms of any other provision of this Act;

“union agreement” means a collective bargain-ing agreement that has been negotiated by an appropriate trade union and an employer or em-ployers organization;

“union dues” means money levied by a trade union in terms of section fifty-two;

“work of equal value”, for the purposes of sub-section (2a) of section five, means work that involves similar or substantially similar skills, duties, responsibilities and conditions;

“workers committee” means a workers commit-tee appointed or elected in terms of Part VI;

“works council” means a council composed of an equal number of representatives of an employer and representatives drawn from members of a workers committee and a chairman.

2A Purpose of Act

(1) The purpose of this Act is to advance social justice and democracy in the workplace by—

(a) giving effect to the fundamental rights of employees provided for under Part II;
(b) … {Repealed];
(c) providing a legal framework within which employees and employers can bargain collec-tively for the improvement of conditions of employment;
(d) the promotion of fair labour standards;
(e) the promotion of the participation by employ-ees in decisions affecting their interests in the work place;
(f) securing the just, effective and expeditious resolution of disputes and unfair labour practices.

(2) This Act shall be construed in such manner as best ensures the attainment of its purpose referred to in subsection (1).

(3) This Act shall prevail over any other enact-ment inconsistent with it.

3 Application of Act

(1) This Act shall apply to all employers and employees except those whose conditions of employment are otherwise provided for in the Constitution.

(2) For the avoidance of any doubt, the condi-tions of employment of members of the Public Service shall be governed by the Public Service Act [Chapter 16:04].

(3) This Act shall not apply to or in respect of—

(a) members of a disciplined force of the State; or
(b) members of any disciplined force of a foreign State who are in Zimbabwe under any agreement concluded between the Government and the Government of that foreign State; or
(c) such other employees of the State as the President may designate by statutory instrument.

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1 Labour Relations Act until 7th March, 2003, when the short title was changed to the present Labour Act by Act 17/2002. It includes all amendments made to the Act up to the 1st February, 2006, i.e., the amendments made by the Criminal Penalties Amendment Act, 2001 (No. 22 of 2001) with effect from the 20th May, 2002, and the La-bour Relations Amendment Act, 2002 (No. 17 of 2002) with effect from 7th March, 2003, and the Labour Amendment Act, 2005 (No. 7 of 2005) with effect from 30th December, 2005. Because the amendments are ex-tensive, affecting many provisions of the Act, notes in the body of this re-issue have been kept to a minimum, but a note on the amendments and a table of provisions affected by the amendments appear at the end, where section 47 of Act No. 17 of 2002, containing savings and transitional provisions, is also reproduced. .
2 Criminal Penalties Amendment Act, 2001 (with effect from the 20th May, 2002).
3 Labour Relations Amendment Act, 2002 (with effect from the 7th March, 2003).
4 Labour Amendment Act, 2005 (with effect from the 30th December, 2005).

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