MIJ, ex-workers tussle over exit pay: Students hold demo

Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) radio fired employees have taken the institution to task for refusing to pay their redundancy package as per MIJ’s condition of service.

The concerned ex-employees have since engaged Communication Workers Union of Malawi (Cowuma) in order to resolve the issue.

According to documents Nyasa Times has sourced, the MIJ management has refused to bow down to pressure from the ex-workers and insisted it could not pay them the three months notice pay as part of redundancy package.

MIJ only paid the fired employees, 13 in total, one month exit pay instead of three months as MIJ condition of service Section 20.1.2 stipulates.

The institution also offered transport to the ex-workers to their home districts on argument that was done on humanitarian grounds.

MIJ students hold demo at campus in Lilongwe

And efforts by Cowuma to influence the institution to observe its condition of service proved futile as the broadcaster stamped its foot in refusal to pay the money.

The documents in Nyasa Times possession indicate that in a meeting on August 23 this year between Cowuma and MIJ management, the latter vehemently refused to pay the remaining two months notice pay, arguing “it is not part of the exit package”.

“We made our presentation of the outcome of the meeting to the ex-employees. Their general feeling is that they are being denied what the instate is obliged to pay them as their full exit package stated in section 23.1 of the condition of service especially on the remaining two months pay as part of the notice pay.

“As the secretariat we feel the ex-employees claim is not wild as it is justified by the section they have stated above,” reads one of the memos Cowuma wrote MIJ management on August 29 and signed by Maclean Sitima, Cowuma General Secretary.

Meanwhile, according to the documents, Cowuma has penned Ministry of Labour for its intervention on the matter as third party.

“It is therefore this office’s intention to seek the intervention of the third party (Ministry of Labour) to help us in understanding the sections (MIJ section 20.1.2 and Cowuma section 23.1) which both of us have quoted from the condition of services during our correspondences relating to the issue at hand,” reads in part the memo.

The intervention of Cowuma on the matter comes in following failure by the Ministry of Information and National Media Institute of Southern Africa (Namisa) to assist the laid off employees.

According to the MIJ ex-workers, the Minister of Information Moses Nkukuyu has failed to help them despite presenting their grievances to him. They have also expressed disappointments by Namisa’s silence on the matter.

In August this year MIJ laid off 13 employees as part of its measures to cut down expenditures due to lack of money following the devaluation of Kwacha.

However, the institution has started hiring other people to replace the fired ones in just less than a month, raising questions on the motive behind the firing of the concerned employees

Students strike

Meanwhile, Foster Maulidi reports for Nyasa Times in Lilongwe that students at MIJ  campus  in the capital held a peaceful protest demanding their administration to improve the services.

The students are demanding the administration to provide them with video cameras which they say are very vital for some subjects like television and photo journalism which are currently unattended due to the problem.

Speaking on behalf of students, President of students union (MSU) Memory Ngosi said they had several meetings with the administration to solve the problem but no tangible response has been made.

“We met the administration on several occasions but it just promised to provide the materials, we have there fore decided to start boycotting classes to present our grievances through action,”said Ngosi.

Students’ union publicity secretary Alex Sakala said they are hopeful that the peaceful protests will bear fruits.

MIJ  offers journalism courses  and has campuses in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu cities.

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