Leader of the Opposition Kondwani Nankhumwa has accused the Tonse Alliance government of executive arrogance after government Members of Parliament (MPs) passed anti-workers laws despite stiff opposition from labour unions and opposition legislators.
Parliament yesterday passed the Labour Relations (Amendment) bill and Employment (Amendment) bill, both of which allow an employer to deduct wages from an employee who is on strike.
The bills were passed after opposition legislators had marched out of the House and while labour unions were protesting outside Parliament.
Nankhumwa said they marched out of the House since people who sent them to be represented in the House are suffering because of such bills as such it cannot be wise for them to agree with the government.
“We have marched out of the House in solidarity with Malawians who are against the bills. People should know that the opposition is not in support of the bill because it is infringing on the rights of the workers. What members from the government are doing is executive arrogance,” he said.
On his part, legislator Werani Chilenga said what was needed regarding the bill was to redraft it before presenting it to the August House.
Chilenga added that when the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) was in power the bill was also considered but it was never tabled in Parliament after it was discovered that the bill was bad.
Member of Parliament Mzimba North Jeremiah Chihana said the Tonse Alliance wants to use bad laws to oppress Malawians.
“I for one fought tooth and nail to remove DPP from power but today I am very sorry to my ancestors for that choice because what the Tonse Alliance is doing now is to bring back dictatorship into this country,” he said.
In his remarks, Leader of the House Richard Chimwendo Banda faulted the opposition MPs for walking out saying they should have stayed in the House to vote even though they disagreed with the bills.
He added that the bills have some good provision including those abolishing tenancy labour and introducing paternity leave.
“The members have only picked one amendment from the bill but the other amendments are very fair. For example, women who have just given birth will be allowed to spend two weeks with their husbands because the husbands will be given two weeks of holiday, so the opposition side has just decided to politicize this,” he said.