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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
01HARARE1222 2001-04-04 15:53:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

ZIMBABWE'S CIVIL SERVANTS CONCERNED THAT

Tags:   ELAB PHUM PGOV PINR ZI 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

041553Z Apr 01


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ4605

PAGE 01        HARARE  01222  01 OF 02  051838Z 
ACTION AF-00    

INFO  LOG-00   AID-00   CIAE-00  COME-00  CTME-00  DODE-00  EB-00    
      EXIM-01  E-00     VC-00    FRB-00   H-01     TEDE-00  INR-00   
      ITC-01   LAB-01   AC-01    NSAE-00  OMB-01   OPIC-01  OPM-01   
      ACE-00   SP-00    SSO-00   STR-00   TRSE-00  USIE-00  DRL-02   
      G-00     SAS-00     /010W
                  ------------------DC047B  051838Z /45    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8580
INFO NSC WASHDC
DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 001222 

SIPDIS

DRL/IL FOR KBRYANT
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER
LONDON FOR CGURNEY
PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER
PASS USAID FOR AFR/SD - DWELLER, AFR/SA - CPALMA,
NNEWMAN, AA/AFR - VDICKSON-HORTON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/04/11
TAGS: ELAB PHUM PGOV PINR ZI
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE'S CIVIL SERVANTS CONCERNED THAT
CONFIDENTIAL


PAGE 02 HARARE 01222 01 OF 02 051838Z
PROPOSED LABOR BILL DOES MORE HARM THAN GOOD

CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D' AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR
REASONS 1.5 (B/D).

-------
SUMMARY
-------



1. (C) ON MARCH 30, LABOFF MET WITH CHARLES CHIVIRU, THE
EXECUTIVE SECRETARY OF THE ZIMBABWE PUBLIC SERVICE
ASSOCIATION (PSA), TO DISCUSS THE LABOR RELATIONS
AMENDMENT (LRA) BILL THAT IS CURRENTLY BEING CONSIDERED
BY PARLIAMENT. CHIVIRU IS CONCERNED THAT THE GOVERNMENT
OF ZIMBABWE (GOZ) WILL ATTEMPT TO FAST-TRACK THE BILL
THROUGH PARLIAMENT WITHOUT ANY AMENDMENTS OR CHANGES,
BECAUSE IT CONTAINS PROVISIONS THAT EFFECTIVELY INCREASE
THE GOZ'S CONTROL OVER UNIONS AND WORKERS. THE BILL'S
LANGUAGE MAKES IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR UNIONS AND WORKERS
TO ENGAGE IN INDUSTRIAL ACTIONS, AND ALSO INCLUDES
PROVISIONS FOR IMPOSING FINES AND JAIL TERMS AGAINST
UNIONS AND INDIVIDUAL LABOR LEADERS WHO INCITE MEMBERS
TO UNDERTAKE INDUSTRIAL ACTIONS, INCLUDING STAYAWAYS.
CHIVIRU STATED THAT THE GOZ WANTS THIS BILL QUICKLY
PASSED INTO LAW SO THAT IT WILL STRENGTHEN ITS HAND IN
PREVENTING STAYAWAYS AND OTHER INDUSTRIAL ACTIONS AS THE
2002 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN SHIFTS INTO HIGH-GEAR. TO
COUNTER THIS EFFORT, THE PSA AND ZIMBABWE CONGRESS OF
TRADE UNIONS (ZCTU) ARE JOINTLY LOBBYING MEMBERS OF
PARLIAMENT FROM BOTH THE RULING ZIMBABWE AFRICAN
NATIONAL UNION - PATRIOTIC FRONT (ZANU-PF) AND THE
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 01222 01 OF 02 051838Z
OPPOSITION MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE (MDC) TO
REVIEW AND PROVIDE AMENDMENTS TO THE BILL. END SUMMARY.



--------------------------


ZIMBABWE'S PUBLIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION


--------------------------





2. (SBU) THE PSA IS AN UMBRELLA ORGANIZATION THAT
REPRESENTS 40,000 ZIMBABWE CIVIL SERVANTS. CIVIL
SERVANTS IN ZIMBABWE ARE REPRESENTED BY ASSOCIATIONS, AS
OPPOSED TO UNIONS, BECAUSE THE GOZ DOES NOT RECOGNIZE
THEIR RIGHT TO UNIONIZE. IN EFFECT, THESE ASSOCIATIONS
FUNCTION AS UNIONS FOR THEIR MEMBERS, AND THE PSA IS AN
AFFILIATE OF THE ZCTU. THE PSA HAS UNDER ITS UMBRELLA
THE CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION (CSEA), THE
ADMINISTRATIVE AND EXECUTIVE OFFICERS ASSOCIATION
(AEOA), THE PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL OFFICERS
ASSOCIATION (PTOA), AND THE GOVERNMENT WORKERS
ASSOCIATION (GWA).



--------------------------


THE LRA IS MORE BAD THAN GOOD


--------------------------





3. (SBU) ACCORDING TO CHIVIRU, THE CURRENT LRA HAS
LITTLE RESEMBLANCE TO THE PROPOSED HARMONIZED LABOR BILL
THAT WAS DRAFTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL LABOR ORGANIZATION
(ILO) FOR ZIMBABWE IN 1993. THE NEW BILL INCORPORATES
ELEMENTS FAVORED BY CIVIL SERVANTS, INCLUDING BRINGING
CIVIL SERVANTS UNDER THE LRA, ESTABLISHING WORK COUNCILS
FOR CIVIL SERVANTS, PROVIDING MATERNITY LEAVE,
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 01222 01 OF 02 051838Z
PROHIBITING SEXUAL HARASSMENT, AND PROVIDING
CONCILIATION AND ARBITRATION SERVICES. HOWEVER, CHIVIRU
STATED THESE POSITIVES ARE OUTWEIGHED BY THE BILL'S
NEGATIVES, WHICH HE LISTED. THE LRA FAILS TO REPLACE
THE PUBLIC SERVICE ACT (PSA), UNDER WHICH CIVIL
SERVANTS' TERMS OF EMPLOYMENT AND LABOR RIGHTS ARE
CURRENTLY GOVERNED (AND LIMITED). INSTEAD, THE LRA
SUPPLEMENTS THE PSA. THE LRA GRANTS THE RIGHT OF
COLLECTIVE BARGAINING TO CIVIL SERVANTS, BUT ONLY
THROUGH THE CREATION OF A PUBLIC SERVICE NATIONAL
EMPLOYMENT COUNCIL (PSNEC). THE LRA DOES NOT SPECIFY
WHEN THE PSNEC WILL BE FORMED, AND LEAVES THIS DECISION
UP TO THE MINISTER OF LABOR. ACCORDING TO CHIVIRU, THE
MINISTER OF LABOR COULD CHOOSE TO TAKE NO ACTION ON
FORMING THE PSNEC, AND THEN CIVIL SERVANTS WOULD REMAIN
WITHOUT THE RIGHT OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING.



4. (SBU) THE LRA ALSO DOES NOT DEFINE THE BASIS ON WHICH
CIVIL SERVANTS CAN BE DEEMED ESSENTIAL EMPLOYEES. IT
LEAVES THIS UP TO THE GOZ TO DETERMINE. IN THE PAST,
THE GOZ HAS DEFINED MOST CIVIL SERVANTS AS ESSENTIAL IN
ORDER TO PROHIBIT THEIR ENGAGING IN STAYAWAYS AND OTHER
LABOR ACTIONS. CHIVIRU SAID A FINAL SERIOUS FLAW IS

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ4607

PAGE 01 HARARE 01222 02 OF 02 051839Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 AID-00 CIAE-00 COME-00 CTME-00 DODE-00 EB-00
EXIM-01 E-00 VC-00 FRB-00 H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00
ITC-01 LAB-01 AC-01 NSAE-00 OMB-01 OPIC-01 OPM-01
ACE-00 SP-00 SSO-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00 DRL-02
G-00 SAS-00 /010W


--------------------------

DC048A 051839Z /45
R 041553Z APR 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8581
INFO NSC WASHDC
DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 001222

SIPDIS

DRL/IL FOR KBRYANT
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JFRAZER
LONDON FOR CGURNEY
PARIS FOR BWILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER
PASS USAID FOR AFR/SD - DWELLER, AFR/SA - CPALMA,
NNEWMAN, AA/AFR - VDICKSON-HORTON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/04/11
TAGS: ELAB PHUM PGOV PINR ZI
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWE'S CIVIL SERVANTS CONCERNED THAT
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 01222 02 OF 02 051839Z
PROPOSED LABOR BILL DOES MORE HARM THAN GOOD

THAT ALTHOUGH THE LRA MENTIONS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A
LABOR COURT, ALONG WITH THE QUALIFICATIONS FOR JUDGES IN
THIS COURT, IT DOES NOT MENTION THE PROCEDURES BY WHICH
IT WILL OPERATE, NOR WHETHER IT WILL BE INDEPENDENT OF
THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. WITHOUT AN INDEPENDENT LABOR
COURT, CHIVIRU ARGUES, WORKERS IN GENERAL, AND CIVIL
SERVANTS IN PARTICULAR, WILL NOT RECEIVE FAIR HEARINGS
IN LABOR DISPUTES WITH THE GOZ.



--------------------------


A GOZ EFFORT TO GAIN CONTROL OVER UNIONS


--------------------------





5. (C) CHIVIRU VIEWS THE LRA BILL AS AN EFFORT BY THE
GOZ TO RESTRICT LABOR RIGHTS AND GAIN EFFECTIVE CONTROL
OVER THE LABOR ACTIONS OF UNIONS AND WORKERS, RATHER
THAN AN EFFORT TO IMPROVE OR MODERNIZE ZIMBABWE'S LABOR
LAW. OF PARTICULAR CONCERN TO CHIVIRU ARE PROVISIONS OF
THE LRA REQUIRING UNIONS TO CANVASS THEIR MEMBERSHIP
BEFORE ENGAGING IN INDUSTRIAL ACTIONS, AND THE INCLUSION
OF FINES AND PRISON TERMS FOR INDIVIDUAL LABOR LEADERS
WHO ARE FOUND GUILTY OF INCITING WORKERS TO ENGAGE IN
ILLEGAL LABOR ACTIONS. CHIVIRU STATED THAT THE LRA
REQUIREMENT THAT A UNION CANVASS ITS MEMBERS BEFORE
ENGAGING IN AN INDUSTRIAL ACTION WOULD LARGELY PREVENT
SUCH ACTIONS. HE EXPLAINED THAT HOLDING SUCH ELECTIONS,
WITH INDIVIDUAL UNIONS' MEMBERSHIPS SPREAD AROUND
ZIMBABWE, WOULD BE PROHIBITIVELY COSTLY. IN ADDITION,
HE BELIEVES THAT THE GOZ WOULD INTERFERE IN SUCH
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 01222 02 OF 02 051839Z
ELECTIONS TO UNDERMINE THEM AND TO INTIMIDATE WORKERS
INTO VOTING AGAINST PROPOSED INDUSTRIAL ACTIONS.
CHIVERU SAID THE PROVISION UNDER THE LRA BILL FOR A FINE
OF UP TO $30,000 ZIMBABWE DOLLARS (ABOUT US$600), OR UP
TO TWO YEARS IN PRISON FOR ANY INDIVIDUAL FOUND GUILTY
OF ENCOURAGING ANY ILLEGAL LABOR ACTION, WOULD HAVE A
CHILLING EFFECT ON THE ROLE PLAYED BY LABOR LEADERS.
THE LRA ALSO CONTAINS A PROVISION THAT WOULD HOLD LABOR
UNIONS AND LABOR OFFICIALS LIABLE FOR ANY PERSONAL
INJURIES OR PROPERTY DAMAGE THAT RESULT FROM THEIR
RECOMMENDING, ENCOURAGING, OR INCITING UNLAWFUL
INDUSTRIAL ACTIONS. CHIVIRU STATED THAT THE PURPOSE FOR
THESE PROVISIONS IS NOT TO PROTECT ZIMBABWEAN SOCIETY
FROM DAMAGE FROM UNLAWFUL OR VIOLENT LABOR ACTIONS, BUT
RATHER TO MAKE ALL TYPES OF LABOR ACTIONS SO COSTLY THAT
LABOR UNIONS AND THEIR LEADERS WILL BE COWED INTO NOT
HOLDING THEM.



--------------------------


COMMENT


--------------------------





6. (C) WE AGREE WITH CHIVERU'S READING OF THE LRA. THE
BILL WILL SET BACK, RATHER THAN ADVANCE, THE RIGHTS OF
UNIONS AND THEIR WORKERS IN ZIMBABWE. THE REASON THAT
THE GOZ HAS CHOSEN TO SUBMIT THE LRA THIS YEAR, AFTER
SITTING ON THE ILO DRAFT FOR THE LAST EIGHT YEARS, IS
NOT LOST ON UNION LEADERS: IT IS A CLEAR AND CALCULATED
REACTION TO THE SUCCESS OF THE MDC IN LAST YEAR'S
PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. THE GOZ RECOGNIZES THAT THE
ZCTU AND THE PSA WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN THE ORGANIZATIONAL
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 01222 02 OF 02 051839Z
AND ELECTORAL SUCCESS OF THE MDC. PART OF THIS SUCCESS
WAS THE USE OF ZCTU-LED STAYAWAYS THAT COALESCED
OPPOSITION TO THE MUGABE GOVERNMENT. IF THE GOZ
SUCCEEDS IN FAST-TRACKING THE LRA THROUGH PARLIAMENT
WITHOUT AMENDMENTS, IT WOULD GIVE THE GOZ NEW LEGAL
TOOLS TO CONTROL AND NEUTER ZIMBABWE'S UNIONS IN ORDER
TO HINDER THEIR SUPPORT FOR THE MDC. HOWEVER, GIVEN
THAT THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE HAS ALREADY FOUND
THAT SECTIONS OF THE BILL CONTRAVENE CONSTITUTIONAL
GUARANTEES REGARDING FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY AND
ASSOCIATION, IF IT IS FAST-TRACKED INTO LAW IT MIGHT NOT
SURVIVE A COURT CHALLENGE TO ITS CONSTITUTIONALITY. END
COMMENT.

CONFIDENTIAL

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