Labor Day in Malawi

By StreetNet Media
May 4, 2022
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On 1 May each year, the world remembers all people who are working on different works and in different places in the day called  Labour’s Day.

This is a public holiday or day of festivities held in honour of working people, in many countries on 1 May, and some countries like America and Canada celebrates on the first Monday of September.

In an interview with John Obongo Mwafulirwa Secretary General for National Federation of Trade Unions(NAFETU), he said that this is a big day to all the people who are working regardless of formal or informal economy.

According to Mwafulirwa, everybody in the country in one way or another is affected by this day because if the person is an employer that means every single concern raised by the employee is directly affecting him.

“This is a day where people can talk to their governments and voice out their concerns and sometimes discuss what is affecting them in their respective work places”, said Mwafulirwa.

On the same point, Mwanda Chiwambala, General Secretary for the Malawi Union for Informal Sector (MUFIS) said that labour day is well respected and well recognized by the government and also local and international organizations.

The life journey of the workers in the country had gone through different circumstances which affected them and their every day lives and also their works.

Excluding the Covid-19 pandemic, Malawi had gone through two cyclones which brought so many cauced havoc to lives.

“People of the southern part of Malawi for example, were highly affected by Cyclone Anna and Cyclone Gombe. This damaged many people’s properties and crops which some of them relay on to boost up their living standards”, said Chiwambala.

In addition to that, Mwafulirwa said that low wages is the challenge almost every worker is having struggling with in their every day lives.

“A low wage is something that hinges hard on the workers and it is an issue affecting many workers in the country”, said Mwafulirwa.

He also mentioned of the issue of health and safety in the work places.

“If the person is not protected, that person is more likely not to work to the extent of the expectation of the employer. This is why there is Health and Sanitation Act that regulates how a person is supposed to be protected at the work place”, said Mwafulirwa.

There are some of the procedures which can be followed if the workers are feeling uncomfortable in their work places for them to be helped as soon as possible.

On this note Mwafulirwa said that people can go to city council or district council because that is the direct controller of the informal sector like in the markets or in the streets.

But for some of the challenges and right violations are caused by those authorities who are to be controlling the informal economy, another step to take is to be part of labor and trade unions.

“Like vendors in the streets are being forced to move out time and again by even using police who chase them away in a very bad manner. This is now important for them to be members of trade unions for the union to speak out on behalf of them”, said Chiwambala.

Mwafulirwa finalized wishing the day a success and encouraged all workers to view out their concerns.

He continued by saying that labour day is the day when workers have to discuss their issues together with government.

“This is the time when workers can raise their voices and express their feelings towards what is happening to them”, said Mwafulirwa.

Article by StreetNet Youth Reporter Uthman Kaisi.