Independent secretariat for TNF

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Harare (New Ziana) –THE Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) will soon have an independent secretariat, following interviews to fill the post of executive secretary.

Simon Masanga, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, told New Ziana on Thursday that representatives of the three social partners held interviews for the executive secretary’s post and forwarded names of three candidates to the appointing authority, the Minister, for a final decision.

“We held interviews and recommended three candidates to the appointing authority to finalise,” he said.

“So, we have done our part. Once we get feedback, we are going to announce the appointment.”

Masanga said once the executive secretary was appointed, he/she would appoint the rest of the secretariat staff, who would take over from Ministry officials, who up to now have been performing the duties.

“Once we have done that, we are going to hive off the secretariat from the Ministry, so that it becomes independent and accountable to the three social partners.

“So, very very soon we are going to announce the appointment.”

The TNF is a platform for social dialogue, which brings together the Government, business and labour to discuss key socio-economic issues and make recommendations.

Its founding principles and values are contained in the “Declaration of Intent Towards a Social Contract,” which the parties signed in 2001.

President Emmerson Mnagagwa in June 2019 launched the TNF Act, which provides a legal framework for reigniting and fostering social dialogue, which had collapsed 10 years ago due to mistrust and finger pointing among the parties.

Before the enactment of the enabling Act, the TNF had been a voluntary platform since 1998, with parties not bound by its resolutions.

According to the Act, the TNF will have a full-time secretariat headed by an executive director and funded by the Government.

Currently, the work of the secretariat is undertaken by Ministry of Labour staff, on an ad hoc basis.

Since its revival in 2019, the TNF has hit turbulence with the issue of salaries being the main sticking point as workers demanded payment of salaries in United States dollars, citing escalating prices of basic commodities.

The Government and labour fought in the same corner in rejecting the proposal, citing the harm wrought on the economy by Covid-19, which has seen many companies scaling down operations, while others closed shop.

The Second Republic has prioritised improving social dialogue to tackle the various issues affecting the country.

New Ziana

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