The Employers’ Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) has encouraged Malawian companies and organizations to always adhere to labour laws, saying adherence is key to productivity and contributes to the development of a country.
ECAM president Anne Chavula, made the remarks last Friday night, 1st December, 2023 during the 2023 Employer of the Year Awards (EYA) gala dinner which was held at Sunbird Mount Soche Hotel in Blantyre.
While expressing gratitude over companies’ overwhelming response for this year’s event, Chavula said companies and organizations have the responsibility of contributing towards development of every country and said it is only a labour law abiding company which succeeds in its productivity agendas, hence wooing companies on the same.
“As ECAM we are very happy, the turnout was overwhelming and even the response from the employers was really massive. We had a similar event last year, but the response that we received this year is far much more than what we did last year.
“The overall aim is enhancing productivity because we believe once our companies are productive, the nation will develop. So, our aim is to enhance productivity. The message that we are sending forth to all companies is let’s ensure we adhere and we conform to the laid down rules, procedures and laws. In that way, we will be able to enhance productivity,” said Chavula.
On the recent calls by employees on the need for employers to raise salaries in the aftermath of the 44 percent devaluation of the Malawian currency in November this year, the ECAM president further suggested for a dialogue between the two parties to end the impulses.
“What is important is there is need to have an understanding from both parties, times are tough not only for the employees even the employers, the times are also tough because even the 44% devaluation, it hasn’t even spared the employer, the employer is also affected. So what we are asking for is let’s just discuss and find a solution. There will always be a solution and we can always work together and do something for the good of our country,” she added.
On her part, Malawi’s Minister of labour Agnes NyaLonje who presided over the event, said when Malawi is going through difficult times, there is need for everyone to realize that there’s only one true solution to solving the current problems which she said is just being productive on individual, household, community and national levels.
She then encouraged companies to always take good care of their workers saying for an employee to commit to what she or he was assigned to, there must be a conducive environment which she said also contributes to productivity and further added that labour should not be about strikes by employees.
“Employers that are doing their best to make sure that as they’re producing whatever they’re producing, they’re also looking after their workers because one thing we know is that it is only those businesses that look after the employees that succeed because employees that are cared for are employees that commit to doing what they must do, and so they provide a competitive advantage to the business. Because if you have the best employees, you provide them the best tools for the job and you manage them while respecting their rights at work, you’ll find that things go easy.
“Labour is about productivity and also when you see strikes, it means something somewhere has not worked because generally the way we ought to manage this sector and we don’t always do that because for various reasons. It only takes one small thing to delay all the process, but sometimes it’s nothing to do with Labour,” said NyaLonje.
At the event, Japan Tobacco International (JTI) apart from winning an award on (fighting) child labour category, was as well named the employer of the year 2023 while Illovo which came second on the Essential occupation safety and health category, was also named the largest employer of the year 2023.
On the other hand, labour laws compliance award has been won by the Southern Region Water Board, while United Civil Servants Sacco scooped managing crisis and workplace wellness award. Industrial relations and employee management award went to Standard Bank plc while First Capital Bank has won the Human Resource Development award.
Corporate Social Responsibility award has gone to FDH Financial Holdings whereas Northern Region Water Board won the Quality productivity and innovation award and Tevet Authority won Youth empowerment and skills development award.