Government has finally appointed panellists for the Industrial Relations Court (IRC), months after the court kept deferring cases as labour disputes could not be heard.
Minister of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development Henry Mussa, whose ministry is mandated to make the appointments of the IRC panellists, confirmed the new appointments in an interview on Friday.
“There were many cases that were pending because hearing of such cases is dependent on availability of the panellists. Now that we have them in place, we are assured labour disputes would begin getting the treatment they deserve,” said Mussa.
Mussa and Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula separately confirmed that the new panellists were sworn-in at the High Court in Blantyre on Friday.
According to a list Nation on Sunday has seen, employers’ panellists are as follows: Blantyre—Ivy Kwatiwani, Frank Chakanga, Emmanuel Banda, Mirriam Luhanga and Justice Matonga; Lilongwe—Alick Sikelo, Yacinto Chikapa and Lameck Gonani; and Mzuzu— Kisa Mwafulirwa and Cecilia Nyirenda.
On the other hand, employees in Blantyre are represented on the panel by Sophie Chitenje, Hellen Mtete, Charles Mikundi, Expert Sinjani and Kondwani Kazembe; Lilongwe employees’ representatives are Peter Kamzitu, Robert Mkwezalamba and Zione Manjawira whereas Mzuzu employees are represented by Alexander Lungu and Mercy Kachale.
Mvula said tenure for the previous panel expired last August, but although that was the case, the IRC hardly heard cases the whole of last year because the panellists were not turning up.
The system in IRC demands that the panellists, who are non-judicial officers and are appointed from Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) and Employers Association of Malawi (Ecam), are present during hearings and they make their input before a presiding judicial officer makes a determination.
The panellists receive only K2 000 as daily sitting allowance. n