While commending the raising of the minimum wage for employees in the 2019/2020 national budget, the Hotels, Food Processing and Catering Workers Union of Malawi has asked government to attach salaries for those working in the tourism sector to the grades of the hotels they work for.
“We would like to thank the government for the just raised minimum wage. However, we feel this is on the lower side considering the fees the students pay at the learning institutions,” said Shakespeare Sesani, General Secretary for the Hotel, Food Processing and Catering Workers Union of Malawi on Friday in Lilongwe during the commemoration of the 2019 World Tourism Day.
He said it was unfortunate that most hotels in the tourism industry take the minimum wage as the right wage without considering the long hours the employees work.
“We would like to ask, as a tourism sector, if we could have our own minimum wage. There are hotels with superior graded stars but they offer poor wages. We would like to ask if the salary could be aligned to the grade of the hotel,” said Sesani.
He said most tourism workplaces have non-Malawians employed in basic positions which Malawians would easily hold but their salaries are way ahead of those of Malawians holding senior positions, citing an example of a non-Malawian guard whom he alleged receives more money than a Malawian Manager.
Sesani therefore appealed to employers in the tourism industry to avoid attaching salaries to race other than the capabilities of the employees.
Responding to the concerns raised by the Union, Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism, Salim Ibrahim Bagus who was guest of honour during the commemoration, acknowledged the challenges existing in the tourism industry.
Said Bagus: “Even though the sector continues to register considerable growth as far as employment is concerned, a lot of challenges exist. Therefore in line with this year’s theme I would like to call upon all stakeholders to work together to address the various challenges employees and employers face.”
Bagus said that the newly approved National Tourism Policy is advocating for a sectoral minimum wage so that workers in the sector are fairly compensated for working for long and during old hours.
This year’s world tourism day was commemorated under the theme ‘Tourism and Jobs: A Better Future for All.