World Vision regrets Malawi staff strike

World Vision Malawi says it regrets the decision by its employees to go on strike following misunderstandings over compensation and contractual issues when the issues are being resolved.

More than 500 employees of the Christian international non-governmental organisation from across the country staged a walkout on Tuesday and gathered at their head offices in Lilongwe.

The workers accuse management of not taking action on their demands and for ignoring the Malawi Industrial Relations Court ruling which they said compelled them to go on strike.

Staff on strike action

Staff on strike action

But in a statement emailed to Nyasa Times late Tuesday, the organization urged the employees to return to work saying “we have and will continue to engage with our employees on these issues and are praying that the differences still remaining will be resolved soon.”

“We are hopeful these issues can be resolved quickly and amicably,” said World Vision Malawi Acting National Director, Paulaw Kitheka.

“We appreciate their contributions in helping to ensure our work of serving children, families and communities is achieved. We also value their commitment to manage resources effectively in a way that honors our donors.”

The employees are demanding World Vision to change its employment procedure from open ended to fixed term contracts and a salary increment of 80 percent, which has not been implemented for the last six years.

“Staff body in this petition demands salary increase of 80 percent effective 1st October 2013, to cater for cost of living for the six years gone without adjustment. This salary adjustment must not be confused with performance based remuneration,” a petition which the workers presented to management earlier on Tuesday read in part.

The workers also accuse management of cheating them by substituting a requirement for annual salary review with a temporary periodic cushioning allowance which ends up being taxed and has eventually been withdrawn from staff salaries.

But Kitheka said much as the organisation recognizes the right of employees to engage in a legal strike it urges them to continue a “meaningful dialogue based on our mutual faith, trust and respect.”

He said in a statement: “We are seeking the swift resolution of these issues thereby enabling our organization to focus on our mission: serving the most vulnerable children, families and communities in Malawi.”

The Christian humanitarian organization committed to serving the poor, has 650 members of staff in Malawi.

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