Mozambique: Nearly 6,000 Labour Conflicts Mediated in 2020

Maputo — The Mozambican government's Commission on Mediation and Labour Arbitration (COMAL) has mediated 5,966 labour conflicts out of 6,141 cases submitted to the body in 2020, covering 15,057 workers across the country.

Out of that number, 5,072 cases (85 per cent) ended peacefully with the signing of agreements between the workers and their employers, and only 894 cases (15 per cent) ended with the issuing of deadlock certificates.

Addressing on Monday in Maputo the opening of the 10th annual meeting of COMAL, Labour Minister Margarida Talapa said 367 workers in conflict with their employers had been readmitted to their jobs and 5,336 benefited from over 88 million meticais (1.4 million US dollars, at the current exchange rate) in compensation and back wages.

"Throughout the year, various conflict prevention actions have been carried out across the country such as 1,083 awareness drives targeting 27,641 citizens including 25,829 workers and 1812 employers," Talapa stressed.

COMAL has also given technical assistance to 1,707 workers and employers, intervened in all strikes recorded in 2020 and assisted both sides in overcoming deadlocks through peaceful dialogue.

In addition to the great strides taken by COMAL, Talapa said there are emerging challenges such as the consolidation and mass use of the digital platform (e-Sismal) which enables a digital data record on mediation. The move will also increase easy access to data by the public.

She stressed the need for continued training for COMAL staff so that they improve their technical and professional capacity, but also urged employers and workers to broaden collective negotiation at the workplace which contributes to better conditions.

The General Secretary of Mozambique's main trade union federation, the OTM (Organisation of Mozambican Workers), Alexandre Munguambe, praised COMAL for the role it has played to bring about peaceful labour relations, in the 11 years since its creation.

"Its tripartite constitution (between the government, employers and unions) and the ceaseless efforts for a peaceful labour environment, through dialogue shows clearly that we have created a functioning body that brings tangible results," he said.

However, Munguambe indicated that situations such as failure to pay wages on time, lack of health and safety standards at the workplace, unjust sackings, deliberate deadlock in negotiations in order to hamper collective labour agreements remain among the foremost reasons for labour conflicts.

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