Nico Life boss threatens workers over salary hike demands

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Nico Life Insurance, Osman Karim has blasted the company’s employees for staging a strike demanding 35 percent pay hike, threatening to deal with those instigating the strike.

Karim, who has been eluding a meeting with the striking workers since last week, bowed down to pressure and had a heated caucus on Tuesday this week in which he short down the employees’ demands for a 35 percent salary increment due to inflation.

He  told the employees, according to Nyasa Times sources who attended the meeting, that they should not take advantage of the company’s good financial performances-as it has been posting good profits.

“He rushed at us and threatened to personally deal with those leaking information to the media and instigating the strike. He said the fact that the company is making profits should not make us  expect salary increments. We were told there will be no salary hike since the company increases our salaries annually.

NICO Life employee stage sit-in

“Nobody was able to pump sense into him about the rising cost of living. He stamped his foot, saying there is nothing the company can do and if we want to strike we are free to do abut he will deal with us especially those on the lead within the period of three weeks,” disclosed the source.

Nico Life Insurance, a subsidiary of Nico Holdings Malawi Limited, audited financial statements indicates that its after tax profit for the year ended December 31, 2011 hit K1 billion up from K743.1 million.

“Gross revenues increased by 39 percent because of sound business strategies and opportunities emanating from the pension reforms.

“Profit after tax is 35 percent higher than prior year despite challenges experienced in the year including declining yields on the money market and increased competition,” the statement says.
Total assets increased by 25 percent from K22.7 billion in 2010 to K28.5 billion.

Next Action

The employees, who were, on Wednesday, denied access into the company’s conference room for their meeting by Karim, have since written Ministry of Labour on the issue, expressing their grievances and asking for another strike.

The workers have sought the Ministry’s intervention on the matter in their bid to force the management headed by Karim to take heed of their demands and effect a 35 percent salary increase.

Nico Life Insurance employees are demanding management to give them their arrears and 35 percent increment after rejecting a 10 percent offer from the employers.

They argued that the 10 percent increment they were given in the month September was manifestly inadequate with the prevailing economic hard times.

In their letter to the management, the workers argued that the company was failing to take into consideration their complaints about salary hike despite having enough evidence on the economic harms of Kwacha devaluation government effected in May this year.

“The response/action to cost of living by Executive management which has seen our salaries being increased by an average percentage of ten (10%) is way below our expectations and contravenes one of Nico Life’s core values of ‘Care’ which if not properly handled would compromise offering delightful services to our clients.

“You (management) should understand that we have waited patiently since May 2012 only to be let down. We feel Nico Life has not given much thought to this issue and failure to do is risky not only in terms of losing key staff but also managing risks fraud and sabotage by disgruntled staff members,” reads in part the copy of the letter the striking employees wrote Karim.

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