The Politics of the Right to Strike in Zimbabwe since the Advent of the New Constitution in 2013
Keywords:Strike, politics, Zimbabwe, trade unions, Constitution
The year 2013 was important in the history of labour relations in Zimbabwe as it ushered in the country’s Constitution which introduced labour rights under its Declaration of Rights. The article discusses constitutional protection of the right to strike under section 65 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. It further explores this constitutional right to strike and its effect on both private-sector and public-sector employees. Further, it discusses the scope of the right to strike in terms of the Labour Act, which largely applies to private-sector employees. This is because Zimbabwe has a two-tier labour relations system consisting of private-sector and public-sector employees. Public-sector employees derive their right to strike directly from the Constitution. To put the right to strike into its proper context, international standards on this right are briefly discussed. Important lessons are also drawn from South African labour law and practice since South African constitutional provisions on the right to strike are almost similar to those of Zimbabwe. The article then proceeds to highlight how the right to strike has been linked or can be used in some instances to fulfil political objectives. It also highlights how the State may view the right to strike with suspicion. Finally, recommendations are made on how the right to strike can be improved in both law and practice so that it fulfils its intended objectives of achieving better working conditions for employees at the workplace.
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