Trade Union calls for splitting of Malawi workers into shifts amid coronavirus: Pay absentees

The Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) has urged employers whose working premises harbour more than 100 employees to split their workers into shifts as a measure of reducing congestion amid the threat of coronavirus (Covid-19).

Denis Kalekeni,MCTU secretary general: Signed the statement

MCTU has also asked employers to still pay their workers if they decide to temporarily close their businesses to prevent infection and spread of the virus.

The sentiments are in an MCTU statement on Covid-19–which has been signed by the union’s Secretary General Denis Kelekeni–and made available to Nyasa Times.  

Malawi has not yet confirmed any coronavirus case.

But the threat of a possible outbreak of the pandemic is eminent in the country considering that its neighbours, Tanzania and Zambia, have so far registered six and two cases, respectively.

Malawians are currently trying to comply with measures of preventing the out break of Covid-19 including avoiding gatherings of more than 100 people–as ordered by President Peter Mutharika who declared that the pandemic is a national disaster in the country.

Other precautionary measures as advised by Malawi Government, Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation (WHO) are: avoiding handshakes, frequent hand washing, use of hand sanitizers and wearing face masks.

The MCTU statement says such measures should also be adopted in work places to ensure that workers remain safe and continue to help towards the development of the country.

“We urge all employers, at this point of turbulence, to put the lives of their workers first other than profit. Actually, employers will put their businesses to a high risk of collapse if, in view of making huge profits, they expose the lives of the workers to this virus.

“The major focus now as a collective responsibility, is to grant high level of protection to the lives of all Malawian workers as they are the driving force of the economy in the country.

“We also urge employers who may wish to close their working premises to seriously consider offsetting the days of off-duty in the wake of the virus with the leave days of the workers so that workers still get their salaries in order to ensure that their livelihoods are not disrupted,” the statement reads in part.

The statement adds that workers should ensure that they work at a space of not less than one meter from each other to avoid contact.

It further calls upon employers to ensure that they provide all the necessary utencils and soap at entry points of work premises as well as within the work premises.

The coronavirus, which emanated from China, has spread to many countries across the World, wrecking serious havoc particularly in China itself, Italy, Iran and several other Asian and European countries.

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Psul
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Psul

Any such advice should come from medical professional staff. Trade Unions are only concerned with corporate profits over people’ health and life. Covid-19 is real and deadly. You cannot allow the virus to ravage through spreading. And do not take this virus to villages where the elderly are in the at-risk age group!