Retrenched MIJ workers plan demo against Nkunika

Former employees of Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) have threatened to demonstrate against the institution’s executive director, Dalitso Nkunika following her refusal to honor their retrenchment package.

MIJ in August this year retrenched 13 employees including reporters in what was described as cut-down measures in reaction to the effect of Kwacha devaluation government effected in May.

In a letter dated December 12, 2012 and copied to the Regional Police Commissioner (South), the District Commissioner (Blantyre), MIJ executive director and Communications Workers Union of Malawi (Cowuma) Secretariat (Blantyre), the employees have given Nkunika seven days to honor one of the conditions in the retrenchment package.

The ex-workers accused Nkunika of oppression by refusing to provide transport to repatriate them to their homes of origins.

And the letter follows failed efforts by Cowuma to mediate and influence Nkunika to honor the condition as stipulated in MIJ’s conditions of service provided under Redundancy Section.

MIJ FM

The condition reads; ‘In the event of redundancy, an employee shall be entitled to provision of transport to his home of origin, or such place as the employee may choose, within Malawi, whichever is nearer’.

“We bring to your attention the issue about our outstanding retrenchment package for transport to repatriate us as one of the conditions of service provided under Redundancy which the MIJ Executive Director, Dalitso Nkunika has refused to pay.

“This was reported to us through COWUMA, Blantyre Chapter, who tried to mediate and reason with the MIJ management on our behalf to process this outstanding package. Since we were retrenched in August this year, MIJ has managed to honor the rest of the conditions except for this transport package,” reads the letter in part.

In an interview, Nkunika refused to comment on the issue.

“I can’t give you any details on that issue, maybe ask Cowuma,” Nkunika said.

And Cowuma General Secretary, Maclean Sitima while acknowledging receiving the letter, said the union would try to reengage MIJ management in order to resolve the matter amicably.

The workers complained that life has become unbearable for them as they are trying to cope up with town life since they are still living in rented houses and with families to look after.

“This is now to inform your office that we are giving the MIJ Management seven days from 13th December, 2012 to pay us and that if this period lapse without any positive outcome, we are set to stage peaceful demonstrations within the MIJ campus until they comply .We again ask your office to provide us with security personnel to accompany us during this time.”

Under her reign, Nkunika has faced two strikes by members of staff and students who protested against her managerial decisions.

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