Malawi: Ecam Calls for Dialogue in Preparation of COVID-19

Lilongwe — Employers Consultative Association of Malawi has said there is need for employers, workers and government to discuss the way forward in case the country is hit by Covid-19.

Speaking with Malawi News Agency (MANA) ECAM Executive Director, George Khaki said there is need for the three partners to map the way forward and have solutions at hand in case the country is hit by the virus and there is a lockdown.

"If we do not have plans on the ground we will not be able to deal with the effects of corona virus in relation to work and the economy," Khaki said.

He said as social partners (government, workers and employers) there is need for them to agree on the measures that they would take so that they are able to protect employers as well as the employees.

He added that their major concern is that if the situation continues and the country is affected most industries and companies will not be able to meet their obligations like, tax, pensions among others and in the end they will end up folding up.

"The pandemic will cause a huge rise in unemployment because once there is suppression in the demand of goods and services obviously companies will scale down," he said.

He said most of their members who are in the tourism and transport sector have already reduced output and are thinking of sending other people on leave and if they don't make any money it means that they have to be on unpaid leave.

Malawi Congress of Trade Union Executive Director, Jessie Chingoma said the call is necessary much as this is a global challenge it is also a national concern and something has to be done early in accordance with the protocols and conventions that Malawi signed pertaining to labour and employment.

"The protocols and conventions say, anything at national level that concerns employment, workers, employers, business and the economy, these three parties have to band up and see the best way forward jointly," Ngoma said.

She said if this is not done, the end result is that there will be vulnerabilities like people being fired and also employers not respecting the fundamental rights of employees as well as impact on business .

"It is very essential because at the end of the day we need to balance as we are not sure how the problem will affect us and how long it will last as we are different from other countries where they have a proper back up like the insurance which protects them," she said.

She said the collaboration is necessary but in the situation the country is, the physical meetings may not be possible but fortunately there is technology and the meetings maybe possible online.

She stressed that it is important because whatever will come out of that meeting will mean that we will have a corrective responsibility on how best we can implement it

So far the country has not recoded any case of Covid-19

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