EMPLOYERS Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) has begun approaching other social partners under the umbrella of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) for the stalled process to resume.
The latest development comes hard on the heels of the clash between Emcoz and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) over the issue of minimum wages last week.
Emcoz president Mike Bimha said so far they have already begun consultations with other social partners to resume the dialogue.
“The consultations with the partners have begun and they are at an advanced stage. Some of the problems we are facing especially on the wages issues can be addressed at the TNF,” Bimha said.
“Preparations and consultations are going on with the other partners fairly soon and I think we will be having a position on when we should meet.”
Negotiations of the TNF broke down last year when government unilaterally increased the price of fuel.
This resulted in labour pulling out of the discussions as it felt that government was not negotiating in good faith.
The withdrawal of labour effectively meant that the process could not proceed since there was no total representation of all partners in the discussions since the TNF’s decisions become binding once they are based on consensus.
When labour pulled out, government began accusing the ZCTU of being part of the decision to increase fuel when in actual fact no concrete position had been taken into account but was only a proposal.
Some of the social partners were last year concerned about government’s commitment to the negotiating process.
They said they felt the ZCTU wanted to hi-jack the negotiating process to gain mileage and, at the same time, have its policies rubber-stamped by the other partners.
Bimha was cautious on the issue pertaining to mutual trust between the social partners.
He said if it again overshadowed the process, he was optimistic that the process would resume.
“Yes there were problems but we are hopeful that they will be addressed,” Bimha said. “But some of the problems, even those of collective bargaining, can best be addressed at the TNF ”
He refused to comment on the prospects of government’s sincerity to the process, since it was the issue that had led to the collapse of the last meetings.
“We are in the process with a view not to negotiate but to discuss when we meet. This will be helpful since we will gain experience on how to solve future problems which have affected us,” Bimha said.
“If we do this then we will have a common starting point on how to resume the TNF.”