Malawi Govt pleads with MCTU

Keywords : Newsletters Human and trade union rights Malawi

The Joyce Banda administration has asked the MCTU to withdraw labour rights violations it lodged at the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Government says it is ready to address the concerns.

The Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) lodged the complaint against the late Bingu wa Muthanka administration following various labour rights violations and the present government is expected to respond to the issues at the International Labour Organization (ILO) conference in Geneva Switzerland, which starts this Wednesday.

Sources have disclosed that Vice-President Khumbo Kachali made government’s appeal during an emergency audience with union leaders on May 24 after he got wind there were Malawi labour rights violation issues pending at the ILO.

Said a source: The Vice-President pleaded with the labour leaders to withdraw cases it had submitted to ILO on workers’ rights violations by Malawi Government and employers in particular.

MCTU secretary general Robert Mkwezalamba confirmed in a questionnaire interview having met the Vice-President with other labour union leaders, including MCTU president Luther Mambaia. deputy president Chauluka Muwake. deputy secretary general Grace Nyirenda and treasurer general Prince Mudólo, among others.
"We were advised the Vice-President wanted to see us on violation of workers’ rights, agenda for ILO and other labour related matters: said Mkwezalamba.

He said Kachali did not fault them for reporting the previous government to ILO considering that the leadership was not listening to concerns raised by various stakeholders including the unions.
Mkwezalamba quoted Kachali as saying, during the meeting: As a matter of fact we all were on the same side and l wouldn’t blame . ou for taking that action."

Issues presented to the ILO included government’s refusal and failure to sign a collective bargaining agreement with the public sector unions such as teachers, municipal and ct.il servants which should guide negotiations when the need arises.

If MCTU does not withdraw the complaint from ILO. it means the Minister of Labour will be asked to appear before the Standards Committee to answer questions on each reported case in front of workers representatives from over 150 countries, donors and employers.

Mkwezalamba said MCTU took the matters to the international labour body in line with ILO’s Standards Committee specification which requires workers or employers organisations to report governments on workers’ rights violations.

This makes a country lose credibility and support which is highly needed by Malawi." said Mkwezalamba. who did not commit MCTU’s position on the matter on whether or not the issues would be withdrawn as requested by government.

ILO is the only United Nations specialised tripartite agency which deals with labour matters and it meets every June in Geneva to set standards, hear and decide on cases of violations from member states.

FAST FACTS
. Tentatively, government is expected to respond to the labour violations raised at the international labour conference in Geneva. Switzerland, which starts on May 30 2012.
. Issues presented to ILO include government’s refusal and failure to sign a collective bargaining agreement with public sector unions such as those for teachers, municipal and civil servants which should guide negotiations with government.

NATIONAL NEWS, Wednesday, 30 may 2012,10:56 , published by Anthony KASUNDA.

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