13 drivers accuse Chinese Contractor of unfair dismissal

Thirteen Drivers that were employed by China Civil Construction Company to construct the Dowa Boma- Chezi road in Dowa district, have accused the contractor of unlawfully firing them after they protested for salary increments.

 Chinese Ambassador to Malawi, Liu HongYang: Contractors from his country accused of abusing Malawian workers

This is the same road which Minister of Transport and Public Works, Jappie Mhango toured in June, this year to appreciate the progress of the work by the new contractor with a strong advice of involving the locals to benefit from the road project.

Mhango said it is the wish of government and all stakeholders to see to it that the project is concluded within the planned timeframe.

Speaking with some drivers on condition of anonymity Wednesday, they claimed that they were receiving K60,000 a month including working during weekends and requested their employer to increase their wages to match with today’s cost of living.

The drivers said after presenting their grievances to the Human Resources Management Officer, they received a communication that the company would come back to them with answers the following day, alleging that the company’s boss was in Blantyre at that time.

They said as they were waiting for the arrival of the boss from Blantyre, they were all surprised to receive communication that their contracts had been terminated.

“Wednesday morning came as agreed but the opposite came, termination of our services, ” said one of the drivers.

Speaking in an interview, the company’s Human Resources Management Officer, Deriam Simwera, confirmed of the development that the company indeed had fired the drivers.

Simwera said the drivers refused to wait for the company’s Manager to come and have a discussion on the matter on how best to raise their wages and instead they downed their tools on their own, a development which was deemed as breaking the terms and conditions of services of the company.

He claimed that the company had followed all the proper procedures to have the drivers contracts terminated saying their conduct is contrary to the terms and conditions they agreed in their contract agreement forms signed with the company.

“They have breached the conditions of service. The company has no option but to fire them and employ new ones, who will abide by the conditions of service,” said Simwera.

The officer said so far, the company has employed other drivers to make sure that the construction works are progressing on daily basis.

Meanwhile, the fired drivers are planning to go to the District Labour Office for assistance arguing that the company has not followed proper procedures of terminating their contracts.

The 20 Km road is being constructed in two fronts, one from the Boma and the other from Chezi to the tune of MK3.4 billion in its second phase after the first phase from Lumbadzi – Dzaleka – Dowa boma stalled since 2013.

The Lumbadzi- Dowa boma- Chezi road kicked off in 2009 during the Late President, Professor Bingu wa Mutharika and was expected to be completed in 2013.

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C Banda
Guest
C Banda

If the drivers did indeed down tools, without waiting for the boss coming next day for discussions, then they had started an illegal strike. The Labour Office or IRC will not be able to help them.

The drivers’ action is typical of workers in Malawi who have a grievance, thinking that they can loaf about and still remain employed and receive their salary for actions which are illegal.

Kambewa Chisale
Guest

Let’s the other side of the story from Drivers

Sarah
Guest
Sarah

Why these typical workers didn’t see their illegal acts, their opportunities been given for working but only got grievance? Does griveance gives out to salary increment? if it is, I cannot imagine what the world will become. It is also unfair to those hard workers

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