Labour Law

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There are four distinct phases of labour law in Zimbabwe namely Primitive accumulation, colonial state corporatism, post colonial state corporatism and neo-liberalism. Primitive accumulation from 1890 to the 1930s. the chief legislation of this period was the 1901 Master and Servant Ordinance Act. This laid the basis of a primitive labour law system designed to fast track the establishment of a racist capitalist system based on cheap and forced black labour. The character of labour law during this period was determined by the primitive accumulation needs of the employer class in which distinction between the employer and the state was non- existent as the aim of the British South African Company was to extract as much wealth as possible within the shortest possible time The period was characterized by weak black trade unions and two incidences of strikes which were not widespread and did not have much effect as they were quickly crushed. Repressive legislation was designed for blacks while common law and general law applied to whites. Strikes and collective bargaining were expressly prohibited. Blacks did not have freedom to contract because of the existence of forced labour. Colonial state corporatism, the period of 1930 to 1980 under the white minority rule, a dual labour relations regime with a state corporatist regime. The Industrial Conciliation Acts of 1934, 1945 and 1959 were enacted. These acts dealt with white working class, co existing side by side with a unitary law applicable to the majority of the black working class. The Industrial Conciliation Act marks a major milestone in the history of labour law in this country, as for the first time the law recognized the need for employer and employee to negotiate. Certain sections of the black employees had the right to Trade Unionism and collective bargaining. Post colonial state corporatism, from 1980 to 1990 when the country attained independence. The new government retained, upheld and expanded to the...
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