GOVERNMENT will investigate suspected irregular practice in the manner some companies are conducting their retrenchments in a bid to stamp out indiscriminate job cuts.
Public Service Labour and Social Welfare Minister Priscah Mupfumira said this yesterday in an interview with The Herald Business, making it clear that it was now a requirement for companies to prove that laying off was the only option.
“As a ministry we will not accept it when people are retrenched the way Meikles did and we will be looking at it. The way it was done was not acceptable. We cannot afford to have bullies . . . just throwing people on to the streets,” the minister said.
Minister Mupfumira said Government, through her ministry, will require all businesses to first demonstrate that they have done everything possible to ensure viability before resorting to job cuts.
“We need them to show that they have done everything like salary cuts for the big earners, they should be innovative to improve the situation and show what benefit it (job cuts) will bring to the company.
Minister Mupfumira said that her ministry was awaiting Meikles and the affected workers to exhaust the normal dispute resolution process at employer and union representative level after which the Government will intervene in the long-drawn-out dispute.
Minister Mupfumira said since making the announcement that companies must fully demonstrate the justification and benefits of retrenchment as the only option, applications by companies to downsize their workforce had gone down significantly.
Retrenchments will receive considerable attention under the Labour Reforms Bill, which is currently before the Attorney-General and is expected to be approved by the current session of Parliament, the minister said.
She said provision to ensure mutual benefit and agreed position to the issue of retrenchments will also find expression in the Tripartite Negotiating Forum that parties to the forum are discussing.
Meanwhile, Government has appointed the inaugural board for the country’s first social security building society aimed at providing affordable housing finance to civil servants and low-income earners.
She said a total of $5 million had already been set aside for the project, as Government reorients NSSA’s focus into a developmental institution, taking advantage of its strong funding base.
The board is chaired by Mr Gamaliel Bwanya supported by Ms Precious Sibiya as his deputy. Other board members include Mr David Mnangagwa, Ms Jean Maguranyanga, Mr Nimrod Chiminya, Mr Tinotenda Kambasha, Ms Busi Bango, Mrs Josephine Ncube and incumbent NSSA chief executive Mr James Matiza.