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Editorial CommentOpinion & Analysis

Malawi is not a dumpsite for cheap labour

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For a long time, Malawians have been subjected to unfair competition on the labour market, especially when it comes to employment opportunities in businesses owned by investors from Asia.

It is common to see workers of Asian origin outnumber indigenous Malawians in such jobs, especially in supervisory or management positions. It is even worrying to see these Asian workers carrying out menial jobs as shop assistants, drivers and others.

In most cases, the treatment that the indigenous Malawian workers receive in these Asian-owned businesses is inhuman. The employees are forced to work long hours without overtime payment, they work during public holidays and are left to walk to their expected homes late in the evening without being provided with means of transport.

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It has to be reckoned that such employees usually live far from their places of employment because they cannot afford decent accommodation in areas close to trading places.

We flag all these issues based on concerns that Salima North West legislator, Jessie Kabwila, raised in Parliament a few days ago. Without zeroing in on the company that Kabwila mentioned, we want to agree with her in general terms that the government has to move in swiftly to address such concerns.

The unfortunate thing is that even when Malawians report dubious employment of foreigners in jobs that do not demand special skills, some police and immigration officers do not pursue the matters to the satisfaction of the complainants.

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The general suspicion among the complainants is that the officers get bribes to drop investigations. It is only after the government plugs holes in the issues that Malawians can have confidence in efforts that the government is making regarding the matter.

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