Enforce minimum wage, MCTU urges

Enforce minimum wage, MCTU urges

Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) has condemned employers in the country for continuing to pay workers below the new K90 000 minimum wage.

MCTU president Charles Kumchenga voiced the concern yesterday at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantyre during International Labour Day commemoration attended by President Lazarus Chakwera, Vice-President Saulosi Chilima and Minister of Labour Agnes NyaLonje, among other dignitaries.

He said it was unfortunate that while workers lobbied for the minimum wage to be increased, some employers are reluctant to implement it.

Said Kumchenga: “There are companies which are still paying workers K30 000. And there are also some employers who are failing to remit funds to pension fund managers despite making deductions from their employees’ salaries.”

He also condemned companies which abuse workers and create hostile and unfair working environment for them.

Kumchenga asked government to employ thousands of unemployed nurses and teachers as well as promote civil servants who have worked for years without promotion.

He said: “During interviews for promotions, over 3 000 people are invited, but only a few end up getting promoted. This is sad and we are urging you Mr President to help us.”

Kumchenga said government should ratify Convention 190 of the International Labour Organisation which recognises the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence.

In her remarks, United Nations resident coordinator in Malawi Rebecca Adda-Dontoh said the unemployment rate of 21 percent at national level and 23 percent among youths was a concern. She said this may worsen and bring about other socio-economic challenges.

She said the UN stands firmly with the people of Malawi to ensure a coordinated approach in providing sustainable social protection.

The President, on the other hand, directly responded to the delayed remittance of pension premiums and urged the Ministry of Labour to ensure that the amended Labour Relations Act of 2021 is being enforced.

He said: “We also amended the Pension Act which established the Workers Compensation Fund whose board has already been instituted.

“If anyone asks about challenges relating to your pension, tell them that the challenges are temporary and we are dealing with them.” 

Speaking earlier, NyaLonje said the Tonse Alliance administration has created thousands of jobs through various initiatives, including mega farms, construction projects and the labour export deal with Israel. She could not provide the numbers.

On her part, Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam) president Anne Chavula urged government to continue leading the tripartite advisory council comprising government and MCTU so that labour disputes are resolved with speed.

This year’s International Labour Day was commemorated under the theme ‘Investing in social protection to achieve decent work for all’. The celebrations started with a solidarity march from Clock Tower Roundabout to Njamba Freedom Park through the Masauko Chipembere Highyway.

During the event, the President presented the 2023 Largest Employer Award to Illovo Sugar (Malawi) plc which employs over 11 000 while JTI Leaf Malawi received the 2023 Best Employer Award and FDH Bank plc received the outstanding Corporate Social Responsibility Award.

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