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Admarc, Lilongwe City Council staff boycott work

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The Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) employees Monday started a sit-in despite a call from management to negotiate.

The employees at the Admarc’s headquarters in Blantyre are demanding better working conditions.

Representative of the workers, John Hassan, said they will not heed the management’s request to resume work until their grievances are addressed.

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The workers chanted songs which expressed their disappointment with the Acting Chief Executive Officer, Margret Mauwa, who they demand to be replaced.

Their grievances include an increment of leave grants, salary increment arrears for the 2016/ 2017 financial year and housing allowances.

Hassan said the junior workers called off the strike in March this year, hoping that the management could sort out their problems but to no avail.

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“In 2016/2017, government promised us a 15 percent increment and we believe the money was given to Admarc but the management is failing to implement it. Admarc has the lowest paid employees among the government’s statutory corporations and yet we are not considered.

“There are people among the staff who are getting as low as K15,000 and they say it includes a housing allowance, that is not fair. We want to express our concerns through this strike so that people out there should know how Admarc is treating us. We have sought an audience but the CEO does not even address us on our grievances,” Hassan said.

Admarc Human Resources Manager, Charles Ntchembe, tried to convince the workers to get back to work but they refused.

Ntchembe alongside Officer-in-Charge of Limbe Police, Brenard Chitanda, told the workers that management would consider their grievances while on duty but the workers say they are tired of such tactics.

“The acting Chief Executive Officer [Magret Mauwa] is currently in Lilongwe where among other issues, she will remind the authorities there to hasten the process because the board already submitted your grievances and we are yet to hear from them. Right now, may we all go back to work as we sort out the problems,” Ntchembe pleaded.

The workers have vowed to continue the sit-in until the acting CEO comes from Lilongwe with convincing answers.

Meanwhile, Lilongwe City Council employees also downed their tools again in an attempt to force government to honour its pledge regarding their salary increment.

In 2016 government increased salaries for the city council employees but to-date the workers are still being paid old salaries.

Spokesperson of Lilongwe City Union, Gideon Mwanza, said government has since assured them that the arrears will be paid from tomorrow to Friday.

After a lengthy closed-door discussion with the officials, Mwanza told the gathering that the government has agreed to pay them their dues, but that it will not be possible for all of them to be paid by Tuesday.

This did not go down well with the employees who said they would not resume work until all of them are paid.

“People are not happy with how government has been failing to effect the issue of the salary increment. We are supposed to have a salary increment from last year but government has just been promising and people are very angry. Last time, government promised to pay us by June but now we are still receiving old salaries,” he said.

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