Malawi Law Society (MLS) has cautioned government that it risks facing unspecified action if it continues dilly-dallying on the appointment of panellists for the Industrial Relations Court (IRC).
The term of office for the previous panellists expired in August 2015, but the vacancies are yet to be filled.
This has prompted MLS to issue a 30-day ultimatum demanding that government should appoint the panellists or face unspecified action.
MLS president John Suzi-Banda said in an interview on Tuesday the society is concerned about the way government was handling the matter, saying it lacked seriousness.
He said: “We’re worried that even after submitting proposed names, government is not doing anything on the matter. It is our considered view that lack of panellists [at IRC] is a serious violation of worker’s right to access to justice, particularly those with industrial grievances.”
Reacting to the concern, Minister of Labour and Manpower Development Henry Mussa said yesterday government was aware of the backlog of cases the absence of panellists has created and the concerns being raised by various stakeholders, including MLS.
But Mussa, while confirming receiving names of proposed panellists, assured that his ministry is working towards addressing the problem “in the soonest time possible”.
Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula told The Nation last year that IRC was facing challenges to conclude cases because some panellists were not turning up.
As of February 2015, IRC had a backlog of 1 500 cases. The lack of panellists means that the number has increased.