Mugabe Recalls Parliament Over Job Losses

mugaPresident Robert Mugabe has recalled parliament two weeks early to pass changes to Zimbabwe’s labour laws that could stem the flood of job losses, news reports said on Saturday.

Parliamentarians have been told to report to the lower house on Tuesday, while senators must be back on Thursday, the official Herald reported.

Prior to this, parliament was only expected to resume sitting on September 1.

Clerk of parliament Kennedy Chokuda said in a statement: “The summoning of the national assembly and the senate is meant to enable parliament to consider the Labour Amendment Bill HB7 of 2015 and any related business which may arise.”

Mugabe, 91, said on Monday that the current wave of job losses was “unacceptable”.

More than 20 000 Zimbabweans from both the private sector and state-owned firms have been fired since the Supreme Court ruled last month that employers did not need to pay redundancy packages and could give employees just three months’ notice.

Proposed amendments to the law “will protect employees from being fired willy-nilly,” the private Newsday said. The changes will make it harder to terminate employment.

They lay down requirements for minimum redundancy payouts, according to the reports. Employers who say they cannot afford payouts will have to apply to an employment council to be exempted.

A high-profile Zimbabwean who lost her job this week is popular TV news anchor Rumbidzai Takawira of the state Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. She is among nearly 300 staff fired at ZBC.

Her many fans have taken to social media sites to say they won’t watch the national broadcaster again until she is reinstated, the Chronicle newspaper reported on Saturday.

The amendments will have to be discussed in both houses of parliament. If agreed to, and passed, they will then go to Mugabe for his assent.