University of Malawi (UNIMA) Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Wing has criticized the Tonse Alliance government of Dr. Lazarus Chakwera over the passing of the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, saying the bill is a tool to silence workers.

Last week parliament passed a bill which will be giving power to employers to deduct wages from their workers if they abscond work in form of strike.

The passing of the bill was marred by serious controversy as all opposition lawmakers led by leader of opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa walked out of the National Assembly.

In a statement made available to faceofmalawi UNIMA DPP wing President Cobbener Sungani said instead of the Tonse of the Alliance improving the lives of poor workers is busy oppressing them.

“We have noted with extreme discontent of the government’s strange attempt to amend the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Act (hereinafter referred to as labour laws). The amendments to the said Acts beseech to alter and/or, in essence, takeaway the employees’ constitutionally recognized and protected right to fair labour practices.

“It is a guarantee of our Constitution for employees to withdraw labour where their right to fair labour practices is threatened. The spirit of unionism and the right to fair labour practices in particular the right to strike is a tool which protects the vulnerable employees from likely oppression and abuse by the employers who control the means of production. It is a scary thought to imagine the catastrophic results such a law would have had on our teachers when they fought for risk allowances,” said Sungani.

He added: “The MCP led administration, instead of addressing the challenges that civil servants are facing which in essence is the real issue, purports to circumvent its obligations by enacting laws that in reality prohibit the underpaid civil servants from voicing their concerns.

“It is equally shocking that MCP administration also seeks to make constitutional amendments that tamper with judicial independence which is fundamental and prominent to the realization of our democracy.”

Meanwhile Center for Human Rights Rehabilitation (CHRR) has asked President Dr. lazarus Chakwera not assent into law the proposed bill.

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