The Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) says it is pleased that government has finally adjusted the minimum wage from K 19, 000 to K 25,000.
In an interview Secretary General for MCTU, Denis Kalekeni, said the last time the minimum wage was adjusted was in 2015 and since then they have been fighting that it should be raised again but to no avail.
He said the environment has been hostile but the fact that government has heard their plea has made them happy.
Kalekeni pointed out that one of the issues that MCTU pointed out to the President during Labour Day celebrations on 1 May was that of the minimum wage adjustment and that they are pleased that the President took a positive step towards the adjustment.
“On Wednesday, May 17, 2017, we had a long meeting concerning the minimum wage adjustment with government officials including the Minister of Labour and Minister of Finance himself. Employers were also present at the meeting and they were advocating for a 10 percent increment while we were advocating for a 33 percent increment. Government on the other hand was advocating for a 30 percent increment but we managed to beat even the government and this is very good news to us,” said Kalekeni.
Kalekeni went on to say that the issue of minimum wage adjustment was long outstanding and that they are normally pulled by government when it comes to setting the minimum wage.
“We are normally pulled by government when setting the minimum wage but this time around, we have been able to pull the government and more so the employers,” commented Kalekeni who pointed out that come next year, they will be meeting again to review the minimum wage.
The Secretary General said that come 2017, MCTU will be making minimum wage adjustment suggestions for each and every sector separately because there are some sectors that are doing very well such that they can even beat the K 25, 000 that has been set but will be using the same because government has set it at that level.
He went on to commend the tea and sugar sectors whose minimum wages are already above the set K 25, 000 and asked other employers who are able to beat the minimum wage to follow the two sectors.
“Indians and Chinese shop owners operating in the country are doing very well such that they can easily beat the set minimum wage but you will find them giving their workers the same amount that government has set. This is not right. We ask them to emulate what the tea and sugar industries are doing by beating the minimum wage,” said Kalekeni.
He further said that MCTU and government have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to make sure that employers are following the set minimum wage and that come July 1st 2017, they will make sure that all employers are abiding to the same.
He said that what is left for MCTU to do is to make sure that the Ministry of Labour gazettes the adjusted minimum wage so that it becomes a law since without it being a law, employers will not follow the decree.
Kalekeni further asked workers to be patient and wait for July when all employers will be expected to comply with the set minimum wage.
“We expect all employers to adjust their minimum wages to K25, 000 by July 1st, if not followed, then that becomes a legal battle. We have put in place proper enforcement mechanisms,” said Kalekeni.
While some workers are smiling due to the positive adjustment, some civil servants have expressed their concern over the matter saying they cannot afford to pay domestic workers at such a high salary considering that they also receive low salaries.
Efforts to talk to the Spokesperson in the Ministry of Labour, Youth and Manpower Development, Symon Mbvundula to comment on the civil servants’ concern proved futile as his phone could not be reached.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :