Trade Unions in Malawi

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Topics: Trade union
TRADE UNIONS

FREDRICK BANDA
INTRODUCTION
This chapter examines democracy from another angle that is the way democracy is rooted in the collective action of citizens outside of the formal institutions of democratic government. The trade union movement in Malawi dates as far back as the end of the Second World War. It has undergone a process of growth, decline and growth again over the past seven decades or so. To understand how trade unionism has developed in any country, we need to consider the political, economic and social context. In Malawi, the political context has been the most influential factor in the way trade unionism has developed. As Salamon (2000) points out, industrial relations context shapes employer-employee relationships and therefore the functioning of trade unions.
This chapter examines the impact of politics on the growth and development of trade unions in Malawi from colonial times up to the present-day era of multiparty politics. It begins by defining what trade unions are, how politics impacts on their development and then looks in detail how the different political regimes in Malawi’s history have shaped the growth and development of trade unions. The chapter then looks at the structure of trade unions, how they operate and factors that have influenced the functioning of trade unions since 1994. It also looks at relationships between unions, trade unions and government and trade unions with employers. The role of trade unions beyond bread and butter and trade union involvement in politics are the two sections presented at the end of the chapter.

This chapter discusses the following issues:
a) What are trade unions and how do they achieve their goals or objectives?
b) How do political systems influence trade unions and vice versa?
c) How did trade unions develop in Malawi during the different political regimes?
d) How has trade unionism grown since 1994?
e) How are trade unions structured?
f) What effect has multiparty



References: Banda, G. (1995) ‘A Raging Calm? The Impact of Labour Relations on Politics in Malawi’, in M. Nzunda, and K. Ross, (1995) (eds) Church, Law and Political Transition in Malawi 1992-94, Gweru: Mambo Press & University of Malawi Bean, R London: PANAF CONGOMA (1995) Council for Non-governmental Organisation of Malawi: Directory of Department of Information, (1964) The Prime Minister Explains Reasons Leading to the Dismissal of Ministers, Zomba Department of Information (1965) Prime Minister Speaks on the Situation at Fort Johnstone September 1964 – April 1965, Zomba Dzimbiri, L. (2011) Trade Union Rights in Malawi. A Draft research Report. University of Malawi Dzimbiri, L Dzimbiri, L. (2008) Industrial Relations in a developing society- the case of colonial, one-party and multiparty Malawi. Gottengen: Cuvillier Publishers Dzimbiri, L 1987-1996, Lilongwe Government of Malawi (1993) Malawi Government New Policy on Trade Unions and Collective Bargaining, Lilongwe Government of Malawi (1995) The Constitution of the Republic of Malawi, Government Printer: Zomba Gray, P.S. (1980) Collective Bargaining in Ghana, Industrial Relations, 19; pp175–191 Lwanda, J Manda, C. (1994) ‘Labour Relations in Malawi,’ paper presented to the Tripartite Seminar for the Promotion of Sound Labour Relations in Malawi, Club Makokola, Malawi, November 28–30 Manda, M Publications Malawi Congress Party (1961) Malawi Congress Party Manifesto, General Election 1961, Limbe McCracken, J (1998) ‘Blantyre Transformed: Class Conflict and Nationalism in Urban Malawi’ Ministry of Labour (2000) ‘Human Rights and Employment Report’, Lilongwe Ministry of Labour (1969) ‘Ministry of Labour Report 1963–1967’, Zomba Phiri, K. and K. Ross (1998) (eds) Democratization of Malawi- A Stocktaking. Sikwese, R. (2010) Labour Law in Malawi. Durban, Cape Town : Lexis Nexis Sharma, B (1985) Aspects of Industrial Relations in the ASEAN, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies Short, P. (1974) Banda, London: Routledge Shorter, E

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