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THE Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) will hold its annual congress next month where the spotlight will be on transformation of the workplace in the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The congress will be held on October 28 and 29 in Harare under the theme Beyond the COVID-19 crisis: A Workplace in Transformation.  This comes at a time when the World Bank has estimated that at least 500 000 individuals in the country have lost their jobs as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 scourge.

“The world of work has been deeply affected by the COVID-19 crisis. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses and governments faced the need to solve multiple, competing priorities simultaneously. One of the toughest: How to keep an economy going while at the same time shutting it down to protect citizens from infection,”

Emcoz said in a statement.

“Several companies have been subject to compulsory or recommended closures without having had the opportunity to ensure the continuity of their activities.”

Among the issues to be tackled at the congress include the effects of COVID-19 on the economy, adapting employees’ skills and roles to the post-pandemic ways of working in order to build operating-model resilience, demystifying COVID-19 myths, role of effective communication and addressing the role of the vaccine in workplace, COVID-19 prevention: how to weed through misinformation, mistrust, and improve worker protection.

The congress will also focus on the social dialogue towards a resilient work contract. The social dialogue forum under the auspices of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum, which is a legislated platform on which government, labour and business meet to discuss national pertinent issues, has been characterised by major disagreements, mistrust and allegations of negotiating in bad faith.

Among the presenters at this year’s congress are Industry minister Sekai Nzenza, Labour permanent secretary Simon Masanga, Information permanent secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana, International Labour Organisation country director for  Zimbabwe and Namibia Hopolang Phororo and Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president Peter Mutasa.

Emcoz will also hold its annual general meeting virtually this  Friday when the term of office of Israel Murefu as president comes to an end, having served the mandatory two terms in office.

“To meet the challenges posed by the pandemic, businesses in Zimbabwe had to react in agile and decisive ways. As we move into the next phase, now is the time for businesses to seek out and seize the opportunities emerging in the recovery.” Emcoz noted.

“This involves conducting an “after-action review” to collect data and insights on lessons learned from the pandemic, and then using these to prioritise actions to enhance business value today and build strategic resilience for tomorrow”.

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