Mozambique: Labour Inspectors Must Strictly Obey Legislation

Maputo — Mozambican Labour Minister Vitoria Diogo on Wednesday called for standardisation in the performance of labour inspectors who should strictly obey the legislation in force on inspection.

Speaking in Maputo, at the opening of a meeting of the Consultative Council of the General Inspectorate of Labour (IGT), she stressed that the manual of procedures, which she regarded as a code of conduct for labour inspectors, is a fundamental document which must be obeyed.

"The performance of an inspector in Maputo City should be the same as that of an inspector in Niassa", said Diogo. "An inspector has a stance, an attitude and a behaviour that are laid down. Those being inspected can see whether this inspector is acting within the guidelines or is exceeding them in his activity".

"When the inspector notes irregularities, the framework is already established, and there is nothing to be negotiated. It's clear", she warned.

Diogo demanded performance from the inspectors which obeys what has been laid down, and nothing should be done empirically or on a case-by-case basis. Standardisation would allow the bodies inspected to be clear about what they should expect from an inspector.

"A labour inspector should be endowed with technical knowledge", she said. "He must master the normative framework. He cannot do his job by feeling his way. He has to be a true authority, and authority is exercised by knowing what you are doing".

Diogo revealed that during this government's five year term of office (2015-2019) labour inspectors carried out 41,799 inspections, which was 109 per cent of the target for the period.

She said the inspection made it possible to guarantee respect for the law and to bring balance into labour relations. This helped improve production and productivity, leading to greater competitiveness of companies.

60,000 violations of labour norms were detected. The most significant concerned poor hygiene and safety conditions in the workplace, unwritten work contracts, failure of employers to channel contributions to the National Social Security Institute, INSS (even though the money was discounted from workers' wages), and illegal hiring of foreign labour.

In only 13,000 of these cases were the employers fined, and in the other cases they were let off with a warning.

Over the five years, about 2,000 work accidents were registered. In these accidents, 42 workers died.

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