By Malawi Exclusive
President Dr Lazarus Chakwera has issued a stern warning against employing children in the workplace for the sake of enjoying cheap labour.
Speaking when he presided over the commemoration of Labour Dat which falls on 1 May every year, Chakwera said anyone found employing children will face the long arm of the law.
“If you know any company in mind employing children don’t hesitate to go and report to Ministry of Labour.” he said.
Chakwera’s speech comes at the background of revelations that child labour is widespread in Malawi with the most recent National Child Labour Survey (NCLS 2015) showing that 38 percent of children aged 5 – 17 are involved in child labour, the majority of whom are working in the agriculture sector, and approximately half of whom are engaged in hazardous child labour.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) recently intervened to signed an action programme to mobilise the country’s private sector in the fight against child labour in Malawi.
The new action programme will see ECAM establish a National Employer Taskforce Against Child Labour, promote child labour elimination policies and practices across the private sector, and facilitate more and better Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) investments by companies to address the root causes of child labour in supply chains.
But the President said this needs to stop forthwith.
The President also took a swipe towards companies which employ foreigners at the expense of employable Malawians.
“It is sad to see some companies employing foreigners while Malawians could have worked in those jobs.”
The President said it is sad that some companies employ even watchmen and drivers from other countries.
According to Malawi laws , only people with specialised skills are allowed to work in Malawi.
Speaking earlier Minister of Labour Vera Kamtukule warned any company against paying below government set minimum wage of K50,000.
Kamtukule said government will deal with anyone found in the malpractice.
“As government let me appeal to anyone here and indeed to the entire nation that report anyone found paying below minimum wage” she stressed.
During the function, President of Malawi Congress of Trade Union Charles Kumchenga urged all employers in the country to respect their workers.
He said it is sad that some employers have retrenched their staff and reduced their salaries in the name of Covid – 19.
“That is not allowed. Employees have rights which need to be respected.These people have right to good salary, right to join trade unions, and even right to be heard in time of grievances,” He said.