5.1.6 Labour laws
Labour issues in Zimbabwe are regulated by the Labour Act [Chapter 28:01]. The main purpose of the Act is, ‘to declare and define the fundamental rights of employees; to give effect to the international obligations of the Republic of Zimbabwe as a member state of the International Labour Organisation and as a member of or party to any other international organisation or agreement governing conditions of employment which Zimbabwe would have ratified; to define unfair labour practices; to regulate conditions of employment and other related matters; to provide for the control of wages and salaries; to provide for the appointment and functions of workers committees; to provide for the formation, registration and functions of trade unions, employers organizations and employment councils; to regulate the negotiation, scope and enforcement of collective bargaining agreements; to provide for the establishment and functions of the Labour Court; to provide for the prevention of trade disputes, and unfair labour practices; to regulate and control collective job action; to regulate and control employment agencies; and to provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.
The labour laws of Zimbabwe will apply to artists who are engaged as employees by organisations they work for. In terms of Section 2 of the Labour Act 28:01 an employee is a person who performs work or services for another for remuneration or reward on the terms and conditions set by the employer.
Article 23 (1) of this Act provides that , ‘employees employed by any one employer may appoint or elect a workers committee to represent their interests: Provided that no managerial employee shall be appointed or elected to a workers committee, nor shall a workers committee represent the interests of managerial employees, unless such workers committee is composed solely of managerial employees appointed or elected to represent their interests.’ This means that arts and culture organisations are free to form their own workers unions that represent these workers. The music sector has a vibrant union - The Zimbabwe Union of Musicians - which represents them.
Article 56 and 57 of the same Act also provides that employers and employees may form an employment council to regulate their sector. Zimbabwe has many of these councils and the arts and culture sector is scattered across many employment councils. For instance there is a National Employment Council for the Printing, Packaging and Newspaper Industry which has its own constitution and the National Employment Council for the Commercial Sector which covers theatre and film.
However where an artist renders services as an independent contractor labour laws of Zimbabwe do not apply as the conditions of performance are governed by the relevant contract between the artist and the contracting organisation.