Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has launched investigations into alleged labour malpractices against local employees by foreign companies with the aim of documenting the violations and also fostering greater compliance with respect to human rights among others.
Addressing the media in Lilongwe on Friday, MHRC Commissioner, David Nungu said the commission has received at least 92 complaints against several foreign corporations relating to wage discrepancies and other forms of abuses.
“We have received reports that some foreign corporations engaged in manufacturing and construction among others pay more to some foreign experts who in practice do the same work as their Malawian counterparts.
“There have also been complaints in relation to Malawians being forced to work long hours without the corresponding wages and in other circumstances some employees are paid less than the stipulated minimum wage which stands at K35, 000 according to the 2019 to 2020 budget,” said Nungu.
Nungu added that there are also reports that even some foreign labourers have been given work permits to work in Malawi which raises the question of whether such permits are in line with the dictates of Malawian labour laws.
The commissioner then asked employees of foreign companies doing businesses in Malawi to come forward if they experience or have ever received such abuses.
Nungu further said that the commission will be conducting face to face interviews and public hearing with the affected employees among others as one way of gathering information which will lead to a publication of a labour justice audit report with recommendations for action by relevant authorities.
In 2018, Malawi Congress of Trade Unions Secretary General, Denis Kalekeni asked President Mutharika to use his powers to deport a Chinese national who beat up his Malawian employee in Kasungu and the employer was subsequently arrested.
In 2014 it was reported in the media that some Chinese supervisors at the then still under construction Bingu National Stadium were physically abusing Malawian employees at the site, though the site manager at the time a Mr. Chen dismissed the abuse claims.
Section 129 of the Republic of Malawi constitution empowers MHRC to investigate any human rights violations.