The Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) has described the year 2021, which is ending today, as the worst year for workers in the country.
However, while acknowledging the impact of the Covid pandemic on workers in the country, Labour Deputy Minister Vera Kamtukule said the government did not share MCTU’s views that 2021 was a bad year.
MCTU Secretary General Madalitso Njolomole made the observation in Lilongwe yesterday during the 23rd Teachers Union of Malawi General Congress.
He cited the Covid pandemic and a range of labour laws as some of the factors that made 2021 a year to forget.
During the year 2021, Parliament passed the Labour Relations Amendment Bill and the Employment Amendment Bill, much to the dismay of workers, who did not like provisions that limit the number of days employees could go on strike while on full pay.
MCTU pleaded with President Lazarus Chakwera not to assent to the pieces of legislation in question but Chakwera ended up signing them.
Njolomole said other injustices workers faced in the year included salary cuts, delayed pay and dismissal without notice.
“The year 2021 has not been easy for all but, gladly, we have survived,” Njolomole said.
On her part, Kamtukule said the Covid pandemic had a huge impact on workers.
“However, it has also exposed a few areas we need to work on, especially regarding the use of technology. This will make it necessary for our workers to reskill and upskill,” Kamtukule said.
She noted that the passing of the Labour Relations Amendment Bill and the Employment Amendment Bill was a landmark occurrence for Malawi.
“The laws present a number of things that must never be overshadowed. We have introduced paternity leave now for men, we have abolished tenancy labour that had an impact on our tobacco, which is our major forex earner.
“So, in a nutshell, we had a successful year in spite of the challenges the pandemic presented, some of which negatively affected the delivery of work,” Kamtukule said.