THE NCA has come out in support of government’s proposed labour law amendment which comes after the controversial Supreme Court ruling which has triggered mass job losses country wide.
The party led by constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku said the amendments that are likely to be rushed through Parliament to stem the tide of dismissals that have hit both the private and public sector must be supported in their entirety.
“The NCA party wishes to support the proposal in the labour amendment bill that seeks to protect employees who have already been dismissed following the judgment of the Supreme Court. The bill is being retrospective,” said Madock Chivasa the party’s spokesperson.
Chivasa said the NCA was urging Zimbabweans to fight against capitalist interests whose voices have come out against retrospective application of the amendments.
“As NCA party we are very concerned about sentiments being expressed by some sections of industry and the lawyers who support them claiming that the bill cannot apply in retrospect. This nonsense must not be accepted by Zimbabweans,” he said.
At least 20 000 people have lost their jobs since July 17 when Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku delivered a Supreme Court judgment that activated a common law provision giving employers and employees the same rights regarding the termination of contracts.
Chidyausiku ordered that employers could just like workers terminate contracts after giving three months’ notice leaving the cumbersome and expensive retrenchment route.
The judgment was followed by massive dismissals but Mugabe’s government has since moved in to stop the rot, announcing that Parliament would be recalled this week to deal with the emotive issue.
In the proposed amendments, employers will need to pay-out contracts and fire workers on fair and reasonable grounds.
Chivasa said in line with the need for social justice and “protecting thousands of families who are being subjected to poverty, it is clear that law can apply in retrospect”.
“The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) party therefore calls upon Parliament to play its role responsibly by ensuring that the new law applies not only for the future but also remedial of the irresponsible behavior by the employers as witnessed in the past four weeks.
“We believe that if the law is applied for the future only it will be unconstitutional and unfair discrimination against those who were unfairly dismissed.
This is so because since 1980 there was no termination on notice until 17 July 2015 when the Supreme Court ruling was given,” the statement said.
“This means that if the law is applied for the future then the only employees who would have been dismissed on notice since independence would be those who lost their jobs in the past four weeks. There is no justifiable basis for this discrimination,” said Chivasa.
However the party called for an increase in the minimum retrenchment package being proposed to one month salary for every year rather than the two weeks in the proposal.