Mozambican Labour Minister Vitoria Diogo has warned that the government will not tolerate repeated and serious violations of Mozambican labour legislation, particularly in the areas of the recruitment of foreign workers and of safety norms in the workplace.
Diogo gave this warning on Monday, when she opened a seminar on “Portuguese investment and labour questions in Mozambique”, organized by her Ministry in coordination with the Portuguese embassy. The main purpose of the seminar was to make Portuguese businesses operating in Mozambique aware of the legal mechanisms for the hiring of expatriates.
Cited in the independent newssheet “Mediafax”, she said that, in the first three months of this year, 112 foreign workers of various nationalities, including several Portuguese, were suspended because they had been hired illegally. Also in the first quarter, 176 accidents at work had been reported, caused by failure to observe safety regulations.
“We are urging the private sector in general and Portuguese companies in particular to operate with scrupulous respect for the labour legislation, particular with regard to the hiring of foreign labour”, she said.
Diogo recognized that Mozambique faces a shortage of skilled staff in various areas, but said this should not be used by companies as an excuse to hire foreign workers for areas where Mozambicans are available.
The government could not continue to tolerate breaches of the law, she said. So far, its approach had been “educational”, making companies aware of the rules for hiring foreign labour. But in future, it could shift to punitive measures, fining the companies that were breaking the law, and expelling the foreign workers involved.
The Portuguese ambassador, Jose Augusto Duarte, said it was in the interest of Portuguese employers “to be exemplary in the application of Mozambican labour laws”, just as it was in Mozambique’s interest “to continue to rely on the invaluable contribution that the Portuguese are making to job creation, professional training and economic development”.
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