By Rutendo Matanhire/Xolisani Ncube

LABOUR and Social Welfare minister Sekai Nzenza says the establishment of a tripartite negotiating forum (TNF) would assist in addressing the plight of workers and in solving the economic crisis.

Addressing journalists on Workers Day yesterday, Nzenza said while waiting the enactment of the TNF law, social partners to the forum should start dialogue to better the welfare of workers.

“I wish to commend the social partners for the engagement that resulted in the tabling of the TNF Bill in Parliament. I have great hope that the august House will pass it when it resumes its business this month,” she said.

The minister did not attend the Workers Day celebrations organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions at Dzivarasekwa Stadium, saying she was due to travel to Chimanimani and Chipinge districts.

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Trade unions have demanded that government convenes an all-stakeholders’ meeting to address the economic crisis, which has seen companies closing down and those still in operation failing to fairly remunerate their workers.

“The TNF Bill, which is before Parliament, will provide the necessary legislative framework to ensure greater accountability and effectiveness in the work of the TNF. Accordingly, the TNF will emerge as a strong and vibrant institution capable of greater contribution to the development of the country,” she said.

The TNF is a voluntary social dialogue platform which brings together government, business and labour to discuss socio-economic progress constituted in 1998, but has not been operational because it does not have a regulatory framework.

“Fellow Zimbabweans, it is in this spirit that we continue to strengthen our democracy in the world by giving high regard to the tripartite negotiating forum. We believe that this social dialogue platform affords the social partners a genuine opportunity to exchange ideas that can facilitate growth of the economy, through greater investment, productivity and innovation,” she said.

Nzenza said the envisaged national dialogue with TNF partners will assist in the implementation of the International Labour Organisation commission of inquiry findings on the future of work in an environment of the informal sector.

“Indeed, in our country, we need to understand and respond effectively to these envisaged new challenges regarding the future of work in the scheme of an inclusive development for Zimbabwe with decent work at its heart,” she said.