Minister of Labour Lilian Patel says 1.5 million people are likely to lose jobs in Malawi due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The minister was speaking on Thursday during a brief session marking this year’s Labour Day commemorations.
Patel said the labour market has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“In Malawi, it is estimated that close to 1.5 million jobs will be lost due to the pandemic,” she said.
The minister thanked the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) and Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAMA) for standing with government in search for solutions to the challenges facing the employment and labour sector as a result of the pandemic.
She further applauded the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) for protecting jobs and, cushioning businesses to ensure their sustainability during the turbulent period and for mitigating the impact of the pandemic in the event of job losses.
Patel said her ministry has developed Covid-19 guidelines to guide workplace interventions on safeguarding the health of workers and also to protect jobs and economy.
Malawi Congress of Trade Unions General Secretary Dennis Kalekeni told the local media many workers have already been fired with others forced to go on unpaid leave or take pay cuts.
He said there is need for dialogue between employers and employers.
He said: “Employers should be able to discuss their financial status with their employees so that we appreciate the situations which are resulting in such drastic measures.”
This year’s Labour Day is being commemorated under the theme ‘Sustainable jobs, incomes, social protection for all through social dialogue in the wake of Covid-19’.