Muted Labour Day commemorations

PATEL—It is estimated that close to 1.5 million jobs will be lost

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected this year’s Labour Day commemorations whose main event was supposed to be held today.

Malawi Congress of Trade Unions General Secretary Dennis Kalekeni said there would be no national commemorations as has always been the case due to restrictions which have been put in place to fight the spread of Covid-19.

“We just had a brief session today [Friday] where we, as labourers, the employers and the Minister [of Labour] made our speeches so that the day should not just go unnoticed,” Kalekeni said.


He said 2020 is a painful year for workers in the face of the pandemic as a lot of people are losing their jobs.

“As we are speaking, many workers have already been retrenched; many people have been sent on forced leave while many others are working on half pay. This is why in this year’s theme we are encouraging social dialogue.

“Employers should be able to discuss their financial status with their employees so that we appreciate the situations which are resulting in such drastic measures,” he said.


The theme for this year’s Labour Day commemorations is ‘Sustainable jobs, incomes, social protection for all through social dialogue in the wake of Covid-19’.

Speaking during the brief session marking this year’s Labour Day commemorations, Minister of Labour Lilian Patel said she realises that the labour market has been hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In Malawi, it is estimated that close to 1.5 million jobs will be lost due to the pandemic. I wish, therefore, to call upon you all to continue to work together with the government until we win the war against the pandemic and its effects,” she said.

Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) General Secretary Madalitso Njolomole bemoaned a number of challenges civil servants face in their work.

Njolomole specifically bemoaned lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).

“Most of the essential workers in the country are civil servants. However, these people lack PPEs. This is cause for worry because what we want at CSTU is that workers should be coming back from work as healthy as they went,” he said.

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