Tonse Alliance government’s stand to amend the Labour Relations laws continues to attract mixed reactions with the Employer’s Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) supporting the contentious proposal that will mandate employers to deduct wages of an employee on strike.
The Industrial Relations Amendment Bill, which was presented in Parliament last week by the Deputy Minister of Labour Vera Kantukule is believed will result into the violation of workers’ rights.
Kantukule told the august House that there was a need to strike a balance on the right to strike and need to produce an economy.
Center for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) argued that the proposed amendments pose serious threat to workers’ rights, including the right to take industrial action where they feel to have been aggrieved, as enshrined in Section 31 of the Constitution.
But ECAM, the only recognized employers’ body in the country under the Labour Relations Act (2006), says it has always advocated for the review of the labour relations and employment act with the hope of creating a conducive environment to doing business in the country.
In a statement signed by ECAM President Buxton Kayuni and Executive Director George Khaki promise to closely monitor progress and continue to lobby and advocate for the best interests of employers in the country.
However, ECAM is against the removal of panellists at the Industrial Relations Court (IRC).
“ECAM’s expectation, by law and in the spirit of tripartism was to be invited to consultations for inputs into the final bill to be presented in Parliament. As Social Partners, the Government should have consulted with the Employers’ Organization-ECAM and Workers’ Organization-Malawi Congress of Trade Unions before tabling further changes to the labour laws in Parliament.
“As a matter of practice, the final draft amendment Bill has always been submitted to us before being presented to Parliament,” contends ECAM.
It further argues that the use panellists at the IRC are not the only reason there are inordinate delays in disposing cases.
“ECAM is of the view that there are other various options that could have been considered and implemented such as recruitment of full-time panellists, utilization of panellists on secondment amongst other options as other jurisdictions have adopted,” reads the statement.
Despite speaking against the removal panellists at the IRC, ECAM has encouraged government to proceed tabling the Bill in Parliament.
“It is our hope that since meetings of the Tripartite Labour Advisory Council (TLAC) to discuss the topical changes and other issues are convened regularly, the issue of engagement procedures and IRC panellists will be tabled as key Agenda items at an appropriate time,” says ECAM.
According to ECAM, the labour law review has been on the negotiation desk from as far back as 2011, specifically, a tripartite consultative meeting that took place on 5th of January 2018 at the Ministry of Labour Headquarters in Lilongwe.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :