BWB dries up Blantyre City with workers strike

Blantyre Water Board (BWB) workers who are currently on strike have disconnected water supply for the Blantyre City, leaving the commercial capital dry.

The workers who have been on strike since Monday, switched off power supply at Walkers Ferry in Chileka on Wednesday morning as one of conditions to force management to agree to their 40 percent salary increment demands.

The disconnection of water supply has left the whole city of Blantyre including Sanjika, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and surrounding townships dry.

Strike action

The workers who carried tree branches and were chanting songs poking fun at management, rushed to the Walkers Ferry, which is the main water supply centre for Blantyre in one lorry truck and two Toyota pickups.

Striking workers on the move to disconnect water

At that time the Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Thawe was locked in his office and had to be sending messengers to threaten the workers with police arrest especially those who went to disconnect water supply.

He demanded list of names of those who went to disconnect water at Walkers Ferry, but nobody was willing to do so, the angry workers were never at any time willing to give up to Thawe’s threats.

Nyasa Times crew which was at the BWB head office in Mudi, Blantyre witnessed the incident as the striking workers remain adamant demanding management to give them 30 percent annual salary increment and 10 percent after devaluation.

Hard times

Addressing the workers BWB Workers Union president, Mr. Monjeza said that city dwellers should brace for hard times as they were not ready to reconnect the water supply until management led by Thawe gives in to their demands.

Monjeza said based on three meetings his union had with management in the morning, it was clear the administration was not ready to agree to their demands.

He then ordered the workers to do whatever they can in order for their grievances to be heard.
And there was more drama during lunch time as Thawe was leaving the office; the workers shouted at him insults while chanting songs mocking his failed leadership.

On Tuesday Minister of Labour Eunice Makangala visited BWB and urged the workers to call off the strike and accept management’s offer of 14 percent increment, but it seems her effort was all just wasted as the workers have agreed to go on with the strike.

Meanwhile, the disconnection of water supply in the city has paralyzed some businesses and poses health risks. Without water situation at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital would go worse at the main referral hospital in southern region has to find alternative of water supply in order to run its operation effectively.

Blantyre Water Board
Striking BWB workers get on truck to disconnect water. Photo by Jeromy Kadewere/Nyasa Times

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