A Mzuzu resident has taken to court the office of the Attorney General (AG) over provisions in the Labour Relations Act demanding inclusion of employers’ and employees’ panellists in the Industrial Relations Court (IRC) quorum.
The litigant, Aaron Kaira, said his case dragged at the IRC in Mzuzu for two years due to unavailability of employees’ and employers’ panellists.
Private practice lawyer George Kadzipatike, who is representing Kaira, wrote the AG to ask Parliament to remove sections 66, 67 and 68 of the Labour Relations Act which provide for employers’ and employees’ panellists in the sitting of the IRC.
The AG was given three months to have the laws reviewed, but the period has since elapsed without action, prompting Kadzipatike to file a case in the High Court in Mzuzu suing the AG.
The case is listed as civil cause number one of 2018.
In the submission filed in the High Court, Kadzipatike argues that his client’s right to access justice is being affected by the provisions.
He also said his client’s case is not being tried and determined in the absence of the employers’or employees’ panellists despite the court having a deputy chairperson who is legally qualified to handle cases.
Said Kadzipatike: “Panellists are unnecessary in the adjudication of matters in the IRC as the chairperson or deputy chairperson are legally qualified person, capable of trying and determining the matters more than lay magistrates who are allowed by law to sit alone.”
The summons add that the IRC chairperson and deputy chairperson are already given jurisdiction by the Labour Relations Act to determine matters of law while sitting alone.
Kadzipatike has since asked the court to nullify the said sections 66, 67 and 68 of the Labour Relations Act.
Kaira, who in the initial case is challenging Opportunity Bank of Malawi for unfair dismissal, says his life and those of 78 others who were laid off by the bank have been greatly affected due to adjournments.
AG Charles Mhango did not pick up his phones when called for comment yesterday. n