Malawi bank workers strike over more pay

A few days after Malawian civil servants won their battle against government over salary increment, employees of International Commercial Bank (ICB) Monday abandoned work in demand for higher salaries.

The employees wanted to force management of one of the country’s smallest banks to increase their salaries, a development that disrupted services for customers.

According to statistics, this is the first time in democratic Malawi for bank workers to go on strike over more pay.

In Malawi, employees in the banking industry are reportedly among the highest paid workers who generally do not complain about salary matters.

Strike disrupts banking services at International Commercial Bank in Blantyre
Strike disrupts banking services at International Commercial Bank in Blantyre

Some employees at the bank’s head office in Blantyre said in an interview they want their management to adjust their salaries by 70 percent arguing their take home pays were the worst in Malawi’s banking industry.

“Our salaries are the lowest in the country’s banking industry,” said a disgruntled employee.

The strike greatly disturbed customers who wanted to access the bank services inside except for those who used the ATM service outside the premises.

“We are tired, we have waited enough and we want a 70 percent salary increment and nothing less,” said another employee who refused to disclose her identity.

The dissatisfied workers further disclosed they were angry with the existing salary disparities between locals and expatriates.

They claimed the bank pays an expatriate branch manager in United States dollars and before devaluation, he was getting about K450,000 but now the salary jumped to over K1 million.

They further alleged that a local branch manager is only getting around K180, 000 to K200, 000, which is very unfair.

There was no immediate comment from the bank as its Head of Human Resource could not pick up her phone.

Several of the bank’s customers were seen outside the bank’s Blantyre Branch premises in confused state while hoping for a wonder to happen by the striking employees.

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