Govt changes textile industry employment terms

Africa Moyo Business Reporte
Government has come up with a raft of changes to the terms of employment for workers in the textile industry, with the order to stop allocating night shifts to women being the major highlight.

Further, Government says employees in the textile manufacturing sector must be paid all remuneration within seven days of due date while coercion of workers to purchase goods from employers has also been outlawed.

This is contained in Statutory Instrument 147 of 2018 published last week.

The announcements override the previous working conditions contained in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (Textile Manufacturing Industry) 2012 that was published in Statutory Instrument 70 of 2012.

SI 70 of 2012 has since been repealed and replaced with SI 147 of 2018.

The blocking of allocation of night shifts to women, who have previously complained of abuse at the hands of fellow male employees and/ or employers when they discharge their duties during the night, is set to liberate females.

Reads SI 147 of 2018 in part: “18(1) females – (a) no employer shall employ a female between the hours of 10pm and 6am; (b) where an employer finds it necessary to engage females in night-shift work, he or she may do so upon fulfilling the following conditions – (i) a written agreement shall be concluded between the employer, the employee’s representatives and the employees concerned . . .”

Once agreements on night shifts have elapsed, they can be renegotiated.

Employers have also been ordered to provide transport, at their expense, in the event that service transport is not available to carry female staffers to and from work.

Critically, female employees that decide against signing agreements to work at night have been insulated against discrimination while female employees whose children are under 13 years, shall be granted time off for purposes of taking such children “for treatment, provided that she produces a medical certificate or a certificate from a registered traditional healer immediately upon return to work”.

The time off would be deducted from the employees’ sick leave entitlement.

Regards wages, clause 16 of the latest Collective Bargaining Agreement demands that every employer shall pay all remuneration including wages, overtime, bonuses and allowances, to factory and other employees once a week within seven days of due date, and on the day of payment selected for employees working in any particular shift, shall complete the delivery of payments to those employees not later than 45 minutes after the end of their shift.

Employees paid once a month are now required to receive such payments within one day of the due date.

To eliminate cases where employers perpetually owed retrenched staffers, the law now requires the settlement of all amounts due to be paid upon termination of service no later than 14 days depending on particular circumstances.

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