Zimbabwe moves to ban strikes and protests

Zimbabwe’s leaders are expected to enact a law this week that will bar workers from staging strikes and other protests before using other measures.

Zimbabwean schoolchild awaits transport from school during a teachers’ strike in Harare, Zimbabwe, February 8, 2019. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

The country has dealt with several strikes by doctors, teachers since its disputed general elections took place in 2018.  Zimbabwe is currently facing a threat of a strike by the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (ZINA). ZINA recently issued a two-week notice to the Health Services Board. Nurses are threatening a walkout over salaries.

Labour minister Sekai Nzenza said the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) Bill, which ensures that government workers can no longer go on strike before engaging all stakeholders – government, industry captains and the Apex Council that brings together all workers’ unions.

“Workers can no longer engage in stayaways before engaging the TNF stakeholders,” she said.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president, Peter Mutasa said if the TNF Bill did outlaw stayaways, it would be in violation of the Constitution.

“The Constitution provides for the right to strike and petition, and no other law, including the TNF Bill, can be ultra vires the Constitution — and besides, there is no such clause in the TNF Bill,” Mutasa said.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa is expected to sign the bill into law on Wednesday.