- Thokozani Khupe: Workers have been beaten without any protection
Former deputy prime minister Thokozani Khupe has resisted attempts by the government to introduce a new law that will exempt selected employers from following labour laws.
Speaking in parliament Tuesday, Khupe, the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai vice president and MP for Makokoba said the Special Economic Zones Bill now before the National Assembly would enslave workers.
“The first point that I would like to raise has to do with Section 56 of the Bill which states, ‘…that the Labour Act shall not apply in relation to licensed investors operating in a Special Economic Zone’. Mr. Speaker Sir, a caring Government is supposed to protect its workers and its people. For the Act to then state that the Labour Act should not apply means that workers will be victimised, harassed, beaten, hired and fired at any time, work for longer hours and subjected to so many things without any form of protection,” Khupe said. “The general feeling wherever we went was that the Labour Act must apply in relation to licensed investors operating in a Special Economic Zone if we are serious about protecting our own workers and people as a Government – it must apply.”
A former National Railways of Zimbabwe trade union leader, Khupe said victimization of workers was imminent if the law was passed without amendment.
“We have had instances where workers have been beaten without any protection. Workers must be protected all the time,” Khupe said.
The SEZ Bill was designed to protect Chinese entrepreneurs who are facing a string of cases of abuse of workers at the Labour Court.
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