Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM) and Malawi Congress of the Trade Unions (MCTU) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for bipartite social dialogue on policy issues.
The agreement aims to strengthen advocacy on common issues as well as to strengthen good working relationship between the two institutions. It is an addition to the already existing tripartite social dialogue, organised in the Tripartite Labour Advisory Council TLAC where the government is also represented through the Ministry of Labour.
Speaking after the signing ceremony, which took place in Lilongwe on Wednesday, ECAM president Anne Chavula said the signing of the bipartite agreement had come at the right time when the world of work is experiencing setbacks, citing shortage of forex and shortage of fuel, among others.
Chavula called for joint advocacy and collaboration between employers and workers to assist the government in finding solutions either short-term or long-term solutions to improve the business environment and livelihood in Malawi.
“To this end, let me take this opportunity to thank the ILO for the continuous technical and financial support, and also Mr Jannes van der Velde for all you have done and still doing for ECAM the financial support and the technical support,” she said.
Chavula’s counterpart at MCTU, Charles Kumchenga, said the partnership will facilitate discussion on low national minimum wage, weak labour inspections, booming of the informal economy and weak social protection.
Kumchenga also highlight3ed corruption and cases of decent work deficits as some of the issues the MoU will endeavor to tackle.
Hence, he challenged the partners and stakeholders to ensure that the contents of the agreement are lived up to.
“The MoU that we have signed today should not just be a mere document that ends up gathering dust in our offices. It needs strong political will from us leaders for the agreed terms ion in the MoU to be implemented in our course of doing business,” said Kumchenga.
Principal Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Labour, Wezi Kayira, hailed the move ECAM and MCTU have taken, hoping that it will play a critical role averting unnecessary disagreements between employers and workers.
Kayira said the government expects that the agreement will help in reducing cases of industrial actions thereby improving productivity.