Universal Industries workers strike over pay hike

Over 800 workers for Universal Industries Limited in Blantyre have started staging a strike demanding salary increment in line with the country’s currency devaluation.

The workers who started downing tools on Tuesday morning and the strike has spilled over to today (Wednesday) are also demanding the company to put back in place overtime policy, which has been scraped-off from the company’s working conditions.

Unlike Tuesday when the workers were more vocal, on Wednesday they were peaceful while negotiations on their demands were under way between the company’s management and Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) representatives who are acting as mediators.

According to information emanating from the negotiations MCTU representatives had with Universal Industries owner and Managing Director Dashi Iman, the company will only effect salary increment with undisclosed percentage next month.

However, the development did not go well with the striking workers who, based on their work argument, they are currently in the month of September since the company’s work calendar starts on 9th of every month.

In the morning briefing the workers had with MCTU representatives on the issue, the company’s management assured to increase the salaries but there was no sign that the disgruntled employees who are hugely comprised of blue-collar workers would return to work immediately.

The workers have not specified on how much the company, which manufactures confectionaries should increase their perks, saying the pay rise should boarders between 30 and 40 percent with consideration to the rising cost of living.

In their argument, the workers said called it unfair for the company to ignore their calls for salary increment in the wake of Kwacha devaluation’s effects.

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