Zimbabwe's Mugabe inks law to stop mass lay-offs

Harare (AFP) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has signed a new law banning mass lay-offs following a spate of redundancies that unions say put 30,000 people out of work, local media reported Friday.

The Supreme Court ruled last month that employers could fire workers after giving them three months' notice and an equivalent of three months' salary.

Several companies, including top mobile service provider Econet and the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, sacked many workers to tackle huge wage bills and rising operational costs.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions tried to stage protests in the capital Harare two weeks ago, but police banned the event and briefly arrested union leaders.

Labour unions say more than 30,000 workers have been forced out of jobs in just a few weeks.

The new law compels employers to give notice to workers' representatives and a government board before any redundancies are processed.

Zimbabwe's economy has been on a downward spiral for more than a decade amid slow growth, low liquidity and high unemployment.

Many companies have closed, downsized or relocated to neighbouring countries.