Over 300 employees for the cash strapped Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) in the Central Region Tuesday took to the streets of Lilongwe, demanding payment of their September and October 2022 salaries.
The workers, who donned all black, also called for speedy completion of the retrenchment process which the board of directors announced a month ago.
They carried placards inscribed with different messages directed to the Minister of Finance who holds 99 percent of shares in the struggling corporation which has an establishment of 4,687 workers.
Among the notable messages were how their families are now suffering and how they are failing to pay fees for their school going children.
In their petition to Minister of Finance Sosten Gwengwe, the workers said they would like to know if the decision to retrench them came from his office.
“The doubts over the decision come after it was announced in the media that your ministry does not have money for the intended retrenchments,” reads the petition.
In the letter they have asked government to apologise to them and withdraw remarks by the former chairperson of the board Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi and former Minister of Agriculture Lobin Lowe who they say have on several occasions alleged that the state- owned grain trader is a criminal enterprise and that most of its workers are corrupt.
Chairperson of Admarc Workers’ Union John Hassan said they have been kept in the dark on the retrenchment issue and became victims of what he called political interference.
“They have killed Admarc with their bare hands and they want to victimize innocent employees. Most of these workers you see are too junior to bene t from the corruption that goes on in this enterprise.
Treasury has since been given 14 days to respond to the issues.
Lilongwe District Commissioner Lawford Palani received the petition on behalf of Gwengwe.
Three weeks ago, Secretary to Treasury MacDonald Mafuta Mwale said government hopes to utilise the mid-year budget review to slot in the K8.9 billion which Admarc requires to lay off all of its employees.