The Sunday Mail
The recently launched Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) – which is a key milestone in the tripartite relations between Government, business and labour – can only succeed if parties duly respect each other, experts have said.
Political will is also required in driving the platform, which prioritises negotiated outcomes.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa signed the TNF Bill into law on Wednesday.
Experts believe that one of the major advantages of the TNF is that its decisions are binding to all parties.
Most importantly, the TNF Act paves way for the establishment of a statutory body that represents a social contract and a platform for the three social partners to discuss specific issues and come up with solutions to national problems.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) president Mr Henry Ruzvidzo, who represents business in the TNF, said his constituency is ready to engage.
“We are ready and waiting for a call from the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare,” he said.
“We have already met with Government before and are more than ready to participate.”
He added that the establishment of the TNF is a good development, which his organisation will support.
“It is a very good development and as industry, we will do everything to support it and make it work,” he said.
“Dialogue on national issues is always crucial so that we find each other on common ground and make decisions acceptable to all parties and beneficial to the economy.
“The country is going through a major transformation and decisions need to be inclusive. That can only happen through a negotiated process.”
Mr Ruzvidzo said the TNF will bring stability if parties engage in good faith.
Director of the Labour and Economic Development Research Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ), Dr Godfrey Kanyenze said while the establishment of the TNF is a positive move, respect and political will is required for it to work.
“It is something we have been advocating for and after a long wait, we are happy that it has finally happened,” he said.
“We have been sending delegates to countries like South Africa to learn how industrial and economic growth can be achieved within a tripartite negotiating framework and I am happy that labour and Government have finally come to an agreement to expedite the establishment of this forum.
“There are however certain requirements for it to work, talk of political will and respect within the negotiating parties.
“And while the development is good news for markets, it remains the role of the State to put in place policies which can bring stability to the macroeconomic environment.”
Human resources expert, Mr Memory Nguwi reiterated the need for respect.
“For it to work, all parties should respect each other, respect the Forum and respect the law. If this happens, the country will benefit a lot from TNF.”
Mr Nguwi also said the establishment of the TNF will discourage parties from reneging on agreements.
“This is a major development for the country,” he said.
“We now have a legal negotiating platform which brings Government, business and labour together for the first time in the country.
“Perhaps the most important thing is the fact that agreements made under this forum are legally binding and once each party agrees to certain terms, they are bound by the law to meet them.”
He said parties cannot unilaterally amend agreements made through the Forum without the consent of negotiating partners.
The TNF has been in existence as a voluntary platform since 1998 and its transformation into a statutory body has been hailed by various organisations, including the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s Harare office. Even the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), which is usually hostile towards the Government, said the TNF will address some of the challenges besetting the country.
While relations between Government, labour and business were not rosy in the old dispensation, President Mnangagwa’s administration is pushing for dialogue to solve the country’s challenges.