Minister of Labour and Manpower Development, Henry Mussa says Government designated the labour sector as a strategic and priority area to champion job creation and skills development.
Mussa said government decided to embark on the initiative considering that a skilled labour force contributes to economic growth and improved living standards of the whole nation.
“The country’s leadership has elevated the ministry of labour to a strategic and priority sector to champion job creation through skills development for employment creation to effectively contribute to socio – economic development of the country,” Mussa said.
Mussa said the development was an opportunity for social partners to translate the political will into reality and demonstrate to Malawians the centrality of labour and employment in the national development.
He was speaking in Mangochi this week when he opened a three – day National Tripartite Social Dialogue Forum with representatives from the Government, Malawi Congress of Trade Union and Employers Consultative Association of Malawi under the theme, ‘Leveraging the human resource to drive a productive economy.’
The Minister observed that major players in the labour industry were the government, employer and employee who were supposed to be meeting on a mutual understanding to discuss on how to improve labour relations for a more productive nation.
Mussa pointed out that not a long time ago there was a lot of confrontational in labour related issues which was now a thing of the past due to harmonized resolutions, structured discussions dealing with challenges companies or employers were facing.
“The bottom in all this is that government would like to see more productivity in the labour sector and particularly how the labour industry would contribute to the socio – economic growth of the country,” he added.
Commenting on the recent spate of strikes, Mussa while expressing government’s concern over the increasing number of sit – ins, described most the industrial strikes as illegal. He said while the law under section 45 of the Labour Relations Act provides for the right to strike, it was clear that strikes were supposed to be a last resort.
He said section 47 prohibits employer of employee carrying on or engaged in an essential service not to strike or lock – out in connection with such essential services. Meanwhile, the employees of the Judiciary and the Anti – Corruption Bureau are currently on strike.