Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) has announced that it will from Thursday, July 15, hold nationwide demonstrations to protest the passing of Labour Relations Amendment Bill.
Over 20 MCTU affiliates made the resolution at an emergency general council meeting held in Blantyre on Satueday.
The council has also resolved to seek a stay order from the High Court to stop President Lazarus Chakwera from assenting to the Bill, according to MCTU general secretary Madalitso Njolomole.
The controversial Bill, if the President assents to it, allows employers to deduct salaries/wages from employees if they go on strike.
The general council, according to Njolomole, felt this is a bad law which will limit the right of employees to hold peaceful strike.
He said: “The general feeling is that this is unacceptable an infringement on the rights of employees provided for in the Labour Relations Act. We are expressing our concerns through the planned demonstrations. We will be petitioning the President.
“Our lawyers have advised us the stay order is possible and we are taking that route.”
Jimmy Gondwe, president of Natural Resources College Staff Union, who is also president of 11 public university unions, said employees were not properly consulted before the Bill was tabled in Parliament.
“This is a bad law. It only helps to empower the employer not to listen to an employee. This is a clear infringement on the rights of employees,” Gondwe said.
Deputy Minister of Labour Vera Kamtukule tabled the Amendment Bill in the House last Friday, which was later passed on to the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament for review. However, on Wednesday, Parliament passed the Bill after opposition Democratic Progressive Party legislators boycotted the deliberations.
Ironically, Parliament passed the Bill minutes after MCTU presented its petition following hours of vigil outside Parliament Building in Lilongwe.
In the petition signed by MCTU president Charles Kumchenga and Njolomole, the union observes that the amendment has serious implications on employees and demands government to swiftly call for a tripartite labour advisory council meeting.