THE Malawi Government must have taken a sigh of relief after a delegation of the Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) failed to present a report on labour rights violations in the country to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) due to some faulty arrangements.
Before the labour union leaders left for Geneva- Switzerland for the International Trade Union Confederation, the government pleaded with them to withdraw cases it had submitted to International Labour Organisation (ILO) about violations of labour rights in the country, arguing that the violations were inherited from the past regime.
However, the MCTU delegation did not say whether they would heed the government’s plea.
MCTU Secretary General Robert Mkwezalamba disclosed that there was confusion in the Standards Committee of the ILO-a committee which looks at violations of workers’ rights- when it was announced that this year the committee will only hear five country cases instead of the normal 25.
“It has occurred that Malawi may not be summoned as the matter which appeared (on the agenda) was about labour inspection which was already raised in previous years.
“So I can competently say Malawi will not be asked to present the report given the confusion that happened in the Standards Committee, our speaking to ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) and other union bodies,” he said.
Mkwezalamba said instead, they presented the report on Malawi to the ITUC, a body that looks for workers’ rights violations and not the ILO.
He expressed hope that the government would address the issues so that the union presents a good report next year.
“We count on our return meetings with the government to ensure that the cases are dealt with at home so that next year we should simply submit a good story to the conference,” Mkwezalamba said.
If the report was presented, the Minister of Labour would have been summoned to a hearing at the ILO headquarters.
Minister of Labour Eunice Makangala confirmed that the government pleaded with the labour union leaders on the grounds that most of the violations reported occured during the past regime of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), not the Joyce Banda led government.
“I can confirm that we had negotiations asking them to withdraw the report and the reasons are well known.
“First we all know, it was during the past regime when such things happened. Second is that we have a government that is being led by the PP [People’s Party]. So we asked them to give us time because we are working on resolving the issues,” Makangala said.