International Trade Union tells Chakwera not to assent to labour bill

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has urged President Lazarus Chakwera not to assent to the controversial Labour Relations Amendment Bill.

This is according to ITUC’s statement released on Wednesday July 14, 2021, signed by its general secretary Sharan Burrow which says passing the labour bill will automatically mean limiting labour rights.

Burrow in the statement advised the Chakwera led government to seek technical assistance from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) so that the law should comply with international labour standards.

The organization said it is very disheartening that the Tonse government just within a year has already dumped some of the campaign promises one of which was to be a listening government.
“Unfortunately, just one year into office, we already see this commitment fading, and we are worried with this development of not listening to the workers’ concerns,” said Burrow.

ITUC has since told president Chakwera to send back the bill to the Tripartite Labour Advisory Council for thorough consultation taking into consideration technical advice from the International Labour Organization where Malawi is a member.

“We, therefore, urge your person and office to abide by Malawi’s obligations under conventions 87, 98 and 144 of the ILO and we advise your government to seek technical assistance of the ILO to ensure that the draft bills comply with the international labour standards outlined in the convention that Malawi voluntarily ratified,” said Burrow in the statement

The organization represents over 200 million workers in 163 countries across the globe.

The development comes barely hours after President Chakwera reportedly assured the Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) that he was not going to assent to the bill after a backlash, a development which saw MCTU canceling Thursday demonstrations.