The Labour Rights Organization (Laro) says lack of understanding on labour rights and the current Pensions Act among employers and employees has resulted in an increase in labour disputes in the country.
Speaking in Blantyre during a seminar on labour practices and social security procedures in Malawi, Laro chairperson Frank Adini said labour disputes which sometimes lead to strikes affect the social economic development of the country since it reduces productivity.
He spoke of the need for both employers and employees to understand labour related laws to ovoid misunderstandings and ensure that proper channels are followed whenever need arises.
According to Adini, a lot of employers and employees in the country are particularly failing to come to terms on the current Pension Act provisions especially regarding issues of payments of pensions, surveillance pay and gratuity after termination of work.
Said Adidi: “If you go to industrial relations court and labour offices now, you will find out that they are overwhelmed by cases pertaining to labour issues, and worse still many employees are going on industrial action due to these labour disputes.
As Laro we want to build the capacity of both employers and employees on issues related to labour rights, fair labour practices and social security issues that deal with the benefits employees get at the end of their employment to reduce such challenges and if there are any they should be dealt with following proper procedures.”
Making his presentation entitled ‘Understanding Pension Administration, Current Directives and Current Challenges’ one of the facilitators Vincent Mkandawire called for a review of some clauses in the pension act to suit current economic environments and the enforcement of fines and penalties.
Mkandawire also called for the introduction of a mandatory savings contribution to be used to secure loans from banks, payments of pension funds or building and purchasing of houses.
“Reduce Income Tax by 2.5 percent to set up mandatory savings and 1.5 percent from corporate tax. Government will still get taxes from returns from these savings. It can then borrow long term loans at lower interest rates and lend the monies to fund members to build or buy houses,” he suggested.
Laro deals with labour rights advocacy, for the benefit of all sectors of the economy including government, private and the public. It was established to ensure that there is equitable distribution of economic activities which is necessary for national peace, economic growth and social development as well as social justice.