President Peter Mutharika on Sunday warned of unspecified action against employers that do not comply with the minimum labour standards, including wages, safety and health, social protection, rights at work and social dialogue.
The President made the remarks at Masintha Ground in Lilongwe during commemorations of the International Labour Day which falls on May 1.
Mutharika said government will triple efforts to enforce minimum labour standards to ensure that employers make substantial investments in labour and that workers are paid “within the confines of our economy”.
He observed that a motivated and patriotic worker is critical to the growth of any company; hence, the need for employers to value and make financial rewards in tandem with the prevailing social and economic situation on the ground.
Said the President: “Let me strongly urge all employers and managers to promote our national core values of patriotism, integrity and hard work in every workplace. You must integrate these national pillars of progress into your institutional core values.
“We all need to be served by workers of high integrity every time. We all need everyone to be a hard worker in our workplace. These values must not only be promoted; they must also be rewarded in our performance systems.”
He said he elevated Ministry of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development to be among key economic ministries as part of the labour reform agenda to drive Malawi to long-term and sustainable economic growth.
The President also emphasised that Malawi needs skilled and industrious people if the nation is to attain true and total independence.
However, Mutharika acknowledged that youth unemployment remains a big challenge towards the achievement of Malawi’s social and economic aspirations.
“Youths make up over 50 percent of total urban unemployment, and yet, they lack access to training and effective vocational guidance services that match industry needs. Thus, we are establishing community colleges in every part of the country in order to create a skilled labour force in this country. This is my formula to job creation,” he said.
Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) president Chauluka Muwake cautioned government to hasten in addressing civil servants’ grievances or face persistent nationwide strikes.
Muwake also asked government to revise minimum wage so that it reflects the cost of living today. Currently, the minimum wage stands at K686.87 per day.
This year’s International Labour Day was celebrated under the theme Decent Work is the Key to Reforms and Economic Growth. n