Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) has called off protests over the Labour Relations Amendment Bill following a meeting with President Lazarus Chakwera.
Secretary General for MCTU Madalitso Njolomole said they met President Chakwera, Deputy Labour Minister Vera Kamtukule and Homeland Minister Richard Chimwendo today.
Chakwera during the meeting assured the labour union that he will not assent to the Labour Relations Amendment Bill which was tabled in Parliament by the Government last week and was also passed by legislators.
According to Njolomole, Chakwera was shocked that consultations were not conducted before the bill was taken to Parliament. Chakwera then promised that he will wait for consultations before deciding whether to assent to the bill or reject it.
The cancelled demonstrations were expected to be held in all the four major cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba and Mzuzu.
The Labour Relations Amendment Bill provides for an employer’s right to deduct wages from an employee who is on strike. It also clarifies the categories of essential services to which the right to strike and lockdown does not apply.
MCTU said last week that the bill infringes on the workers’ rights to stay away from work. The union also complained that it was not consulted.
However, deputy labour minister Kamtukule argued that workers will still have a right to hold strike but they would not be paid. She added that the union was consulted only that the consultation did not mean the union had to agree with the bill.