Maputo-Catembe bridge a major step forward for Mozambique
File photo / Minister Victoria Digo
Over 24,000 companies operating in Mozambique owe the National Social Security Institute (INSS) over 1.23 billion meticais (about 20.2 million US dollars, at current exchange rates).
This startling figure was given by the Minister of Labour, Employment and Social Security, Vitoria Diogo, in Maputo on Wednesday, when she opened a meeting of the Consultative Council of the General Labour Inspectorate.
For many years, Mozambican trade unions have complained that, although social security contributions are deducted from workers’ wages, the employers often do not pass the contributions on to the INSS. This is a way in which employers steal from their workers, and it means that when the workers concerned require benefits, they find they are not covered.
Diogo said that a total of 24,266 companies are currently in debt to the INSS.
She lamented that many employers continue to submit their workers to degrading conditions, to long working hours, to wage discrimination on the basis of race, and to sexual harassment. Companies were also guilty of employing child labour, and of disrespecting health and safety rules.
One particularly gross violation which occurred at the Chinese owned company Ferragem Mariote was filmed, and the video circulated on social media. It shows a Chinese citizen beating up Mozambican workers with an iron bar.
The justification for this savage behaviour was that the victims turned up late for work. Diogo said the company will be punished for this assault, and called for rigorous intervention by the Labour Inspectorate against “practices which are an offence to human dignity”.
“All of these evils corrode the basis of the state of social justice and the democratic rule of law that we are building”, stressed Diogo. “The General Labour Inspectorate should continue to prioritise its educational and guiding role, but should also take vigorous and dissuasive measures against those companies which repeatedly violate labour norms”.
Diogo said that from 2015 to the present, there were 24,030 inspections of workplaces, and 35,609 violations of labour legislation were detected. In 27,542 cases (77.3 per cent) warnings were issued, but in the remaining 8,067 cases (22.6 per cent), fines were imposed.Source: AIM