Shop workers in Malawi’s commercial city Blantyre on Monday started a stay away strike that seeks to push their employees especially Asians, Nigerians, Chinese and Lebanese to hike their monthly salaries.
Business in Limbe town where there are more shops was on standstill as they remained shut after workers refused to open citing exploitative wages.
Workers are demanding a monthly salary increase of over 100% and better working conditions.
Nyasa Times reports that the strike has taken on a xenophobic character, with workers categorising the action as “a huge industrial strike that seeks to push their employees especially Asians, Nigerians, Chinese and Lebanese to hike their monthly salaries.”
Shop worker said they are tired of the meager salaries they get from Asian shop owners saying it does not tarry with the current high cost of living .
‘We are really suffering and I can say that we are the lowest paid and abused workers in the country,’ said a worker for an Asian hardware shop.
The workers allege that their employees have been telling them to just quit the job whenever they are approached to consider them raising their salaries which range between MK15000 and K25, 000 per month to the lowest and highest paid workers respectively.
At the moment, the minimum pay for the shop workers is pegged at between K5 000 ($11) and K6 000 (about $14) per week without housing allowance.