Companies urged to own labour agreements

Lilongwe: The Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) has for the first time signed the recognition and procedural agreement which guides stakeholders on how to handle labour disagreements as prescribed in the Labor Relations Act.

Presiding over the signing ceremony between TCC and Tobacco and Allied Workers Union of Malawi (TOAWUM) on Friday in Lilongwe at the TCC’s office in Kanengo, TCC Director of Human Resources and Administration, Medson Kamala said the agreement signifies a commitment that they will handle labour issues in a manner that is prescribed in the Labor Relations Act of 1997.

This is important for economic development and it brings synergy and not conflict. It is an issue of agreeing on issues of conditions of service, how we treat one another, improving communication between senior management and juniors. It will also ensure that that we walk together as we develop both the commission and the tobacco sector, he said.

He continued: It is a very remarkable milestone in the tobacco industry as far as TCC is concerned. Since 1938 when the organization was set up, this is the first time that we are having an agreement signed between us and our employees, said Kamala.

He said senior management was excited with the development, citing that it will be of benefit to both the company and the employees including the future generations to join TCC.

This will build a strong foundation for labourers and management. Most of the things signed in the agreement are actually happening on the ground but we thought it will be good that we put pen to paper, he said.

Kamala said the agreement is binding on both sides and brings the understanding and trust with one another.

On his part, TOAWUM General Secretary, Raphael Sandram said the agreement aims at bringing sanity at the work place and improving the working conditions of the workers.

He said unions are not going on strikes because their agreements focuses on discussing issues amicably and coming up with resolutions. He observed that strikes are distracting to both the employers and employees.

The document is binding because whatever is inside aims at amicably solving the matters arising between two parties through negotiations. This document outlines stages of conflict resolution so both parties have to follow all procedures, said Sandram.

He said TCC is the first in the tobacco industry to sign the agreement which he said has set up a good example to all other tobacco companies in the country, including all landlords growing tobacco.

Let me urge all tobacco companies to emulate what TCC has done so that we together develop the tobacco industry. We are excited with this development today and let me therefore, call upon all tobacco buyers companies’ to do the same, said Sandram.

In her remarks, Lilongwe District Senior Assistant Labour Officer, Charity Mwambira commended TCC for buying the taking the step. She pledged her office’s support.

She said TCC is such a big company that has set a good example to all tobacco companies to see the need of getting into such an agreement, which would help in times of conflicts.

Let me thank TCC, TOAWUM and MCTU for inviting us to this auspicious event that we can be part of the signing ceremony between the two parties. The labor office is ready to support such initiatives so that we together develop our nation and the tobacco industry, she said.

Mwambira applauded TOAWUM for such an initiative, saying it will go a long way changing lives of many in the working places and urged them to continue knocking on the doors of many companies so that such agreements are welcomed and adopted.

Source: Malawi News Agency MANA