Trade Unions in Malawi are championing a labour rights awareness programme to advocate for improvement of working conditions and policies as well as creating knowledge about workers’ rights.
Under Trade Union Solidarity Project, the unions have started engaging the media to address knowledge gap about labour rights among the general public.
Speaking during the launch of the programme, Communication Workers Union of Malawi (Cowuma) president, Deus Sandram expressed hope that through the programme workers’ living standards will improve and that institutions as well as individuals will be more knowledgeable of existing labour laws and rights.
“Our goal is to improve living standard of workers through awareness on rights for workers at work place and through good policies and working conditions. We also hope to have trade union membership increased thereby building strong trade unions and better relationship with stakeholders,” said Sandram.
He said the programme targets government, civil society organizations, individuals, trade union leaders, employers and workers.
In his remarks, guest of honor at the event held at Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre on Wednesday, president for Malawi Union for Informal Sector, Ken Williams Mhango described the programme as good initiative to help employers know of their employees’ rights.
“There is surely a need to educate workers so they know they are part of movement of trade unions. And this programme is better strategy to create awareness for labour rights because some managers are not aware of such rights,” said Mhango.
Ronald Mbewe, project coordinator for the programme, said the initiative would create a platform to provide information to the nation on labour rights, saying lack of knowledge brings about conflicts between employers and employees.
“Aside from labour rights, the programme will tackle issues concerning disability rights, gender and environment. It is a one-year programme but we hope it will be extended for five years,” he said.
Labour rights awareness programme is supported by Seka (Swedish Union for Service and Communications Employees).