President Peter Mutharika has warned that he will deport racist bosses who call Malawians monkeys.
Mutharika was speaking in Blantyre during this year’s National Labour Day Commemorations on Monday.
The remarks follow the deportation of a 46-year-old Austrian, Hinteregger Jurgen, a former workshop manager at Strabag International, an Austrian company constructing the Mzuzu-Nkhata Bay Road, for calling a driver Charles Devina a monkey after he got tyres of a vehicle belonging to the company scratched.
“As long as I am the President, I will not tolerate foreigners disrespecting Malawian workers. You cannot be calling us monkeys. Someone did that and was out of the country within 24 hours. I am investigating reports that other foreigners also called Malawians monkeys and when I establish that you really said that, you will go within 24 hours,” he said.
Mutharika further asked companies in the country to prioritise employing Malawians ahead of expatriates. He noted that the country has more educated and experienced people to perform the works for which the expatriates are imported.
“Let me ask the companies not to employ expatriates for the work which local people can do. The country has a lot of universities which have been training competent professionals for the last 50 years and we need to utilise them. The country has far more educated people than most of these expatriates,” he said.
Mutharika then instructed Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Henry Mussa to discuss with the workers and employers to consider raising the minimum wage, saying the current wage is too low.
Speaking earlier, Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) President Luther Mambala decried the companies’ appetite for experienced people, saying this is discriminatory against the youth.
On minimum wages, Mambala said MCTU is pushing for sectorial minimum wage as the current uniform minimum wage does not make sense for some sectors.
The celebrations started with a march from Blantyre Old Town Hall to Kamuzu Upper Stadium where the commemorations were held.
The workers chanted songs while carrying placards denouncing labour injustices such as low wages, high taxes, gender imbalance and sexual harassment.
The day was commemorated under the theme ‘Enhancing skills for job creation and employability in workplaces’.
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