By Blessings Kaunda
Employees of Indian, Chinese, Burundian and Malawian owned shops in Mzuzu staged a protest on Friday against what they described as low salaries given to them by their employers.
The workers marched and forced shops to close in the city, demanding a meeting with their bosses at Mzuzu Labour Office.
Chairperson for the workers’ association, Ramsey Chirwa, said for four years, their employers have not complied with their demand to raise wages to K34, 000.
“In 2016, we agreed that salaries should be raised to K34, 200 but since then we are still getting K18 000, some get K15 000 or less than that. So we have gathered here to map the way forward with officials and our employers.
“We have raised almost 15 issues but the burning and major issue is about the wages of our fellow employees,” Chirwa said.
He said it was unfortunate that some Malawian, Burundian and Chinese employers chose to boycott the meeting.
“Possibly people will continue staying here at labour office until all concerned parties come here and discuss with us and sign a memorandum of understanding,” he said.
He said Malawians of Indian origin will open their shops since they are the ones that have agreed to their demand.
Representative of shop owners, proprietor of Bano Hardware and Construction, Ash Rashij Bano, said the employees’ salary concern is genuine and that a minimum wage of K34, 200 will be effective January next year (2020).
“We have understood their complaints. As Malawians of Indian origin, we accept that somewhere there were problems,” said Rashij. Labour office authorities declined to comment on the issue