Minister of labour Vera Kamtukule has expressed satisfaction with how officials in tea estates have managed to deal with various sexual abuses and child labour issues in their work places.
Kamtukule made the remarks at Nchima tea estate in Thyolo district during an inspection visit she held together with Tea Association of Malawi Limited (TAML) With support from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) under the ACCEL Project.
The aim of the visit was to appreciate good efforts being taken to fight child labour as well as gender based violence in the industry.
Kamtukule said she was impressed that there is decent working environment for all employers and there is adherence to all standards set by Government and the international community, especially on issues of Child Labour and Gender abuse where there are robust systems in place to ensure zero tolerance to child Labour and gender abuse.
“These are some of regular labour inspections we conduct to look at the welfare of people and also the skill component in as far as the company is concerned, what is it that we can do as a ministry responsible for skills development in Malawi which is why we also brought in TEVETA Malawi to observe and see how they can bridge the existing gaps in the industry.
“The skill gap is evident here. However, people are highly skilled but they have been trained on the job but they do not have evidence that they know the job and as government we are going to take them into the certifying process under ‘recognition to prior learning program,” she said.
She added that government will continue to work with the Tea Association to make sure the industry maintains the standards and on security issues, the minister suggested that a police unit be established to address issues of insecurity around the communities.
In his remarks, Tea Association of Malawi Limited Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Tonda Chinangwa thanked the minister for her commitment in making sure that there is a conducive working environment in the tea industry and that people are adhering to the government given standards including abiding to labour relations laws.
Chinangwa said as an industry they believe in improvement and he is optimistic that they are going to do the best in order to make government happy.
Before inspecting estates in Thyolo and Mulanje on Wednesday, the minister also visited Kawalazi Estates in Nkhatabay district on Monday.