MCTU Fears for Workers’ Livelihoods
The Malawi Congress of Trade Unions is scared that livelihoods for employees in institutions that could be forced to close by the spread of the deadly coronavirus could be adversely affected.
In a statement issued on Monday, MCTU Secretary General, Denis Kalekeni, urges employers who may find themselves in such situations to ensure that workers’ livelihoods are sustained.
“We, therefore, urge employers who may wish to close their working premises to seriously consider offsetting the days of off-duty in the wake of the virus with the leave days of the workers so that workers still get their salaries,” he said.
The MCTU further requests employers who have over 100 employees to split workers into shifts as a measure of reducing congestion and preventing possible threat of the coronavirus.
“Employers will put their businesses to a high risk of collapse if, in view of making huge profits, they expose the lives of the workers to this virus. The major focus now as a collective responsibility, is to grant high level of protection to the lives of all,” Kalekeni said urging employers to put the lives of employees ahead of the desire for making profit.
The union has, however, applauded government for declaring Malawi in a state of disaster.
The statement observes that the battle against the epidemic, which has killed over nine thousand people, is a collective responsibility that should not be left to government alone.
“MCTU urges all workers to strictly follow all hygienic methods such as (avoiding) handshakes and hugs, wash hands using soap for not less than 20 seconds, ensure that they work at a space of not less than one meter from each other and avoid assembling in crowded places,” he said.
The MCTU says patriotic citizens should join hands to prevent infection and spread of the coronavirus which causes the deadly COVID19.