The Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) has expressed disappointment over the conduct of Minister of labour Eunice Makangala whom it accuses of lacking respect for the umbrella body of workers unions.
In a letter dated 9th July, 2013 which was signed by MCTU President Chauluka Muwake and Secretary General Pontius Elijah Kalichero the body claims that the Minister has been interfering with the affairs of the union.
MCTU reveals that the minister has no interest with the current leadership hence ordering the current president of the Union to turn down his candidature.
“You may recall madam that on 30th September the day of elections for MCTU in Blantyre at Malawi Sun Hotel you called the current President of MCTU to Mount Soche Hotel where you asked him to turn down his candidature to pave way for the former leadership,” reads part of the letter.
The union body also accuses the Minister of favouring the former leadership by including them in labour activities as well as in foreign trips disguising them as workers.
“Your move to force the current leadership to take the very same leaders who were rejected by the delegates at the congress to join the team to Geneva is a clear manifestation that you are not interested to respect the decision by the congress of 30th September 2012.
“Take for example, the former Chairperson of the Women’s Committee is nowhere in any structure of the union, at affiliate or labour centre level. Therefore you took a non-worker to a labour conference and disguised her as a worker
“As the involvement of the former President of MCTU, this is perceived as political, a thing which cannot be acceptable. It should be left to the Union to respect him as a former leader of the union as we can do with the rest of the former leaders,” says the letter.
The letter also exposes Makangala of intimidating workers in Blantyre on the Labour Day by refusing them to sing and chant their slogans and songs as she deemed the songs as castigating the State President.
It also says a day before the Labour Day when the Union body was preparing placards, the Minister instructed officers at the Ministry of Labour to go to MCTU offices in Blantyre in order to edit the material which were meant to be displayed at the event.
“As if that was not enough, you further threatened us that the State President would cancel her attendance as you had alleged that we were castigating her with the songs that we had prepared. We are a respectable organization not worthy to be associated with any defamatory intentions against the head of state.
“Our messages in the placards were related to labour issues and social economic issues affecting workers as well as the general public as is the practice acceptable in a civilized world ” further reads the letter.
The Union body also condemned Makangala of conducting meetings with workers in various institutions single-handedly and attending a Tripartite Meeting in Mozambique without MCTU delegation where organizers questioned and nearly sent her back.
MCTU observes that Makangala has no knowledge of labour movement and lacks consultation on labour issues on matters of national interest for example the issue to do with Labour export to Dubai and South Korea.
It adds, “Your outburst during May Day celebrations manifested lack of knowledge of what a labour movement in a country is supposed to do. We are a stakeholder who should be consulted on labour, social justice and social economic issues. Therefore our commenting on labour export is in line with objectives and values on which MCTU was founded.”
In conclusion the letter indicates that by the concerns raised the minister infringed ILO Convention number 87 of 1948 which was acceded to by the government of Malawi and it stipulates that Workers and Employers can set up, join and run their own organizations without interference from the state or one another.