Agricultural Development and Marketing Corporation (Admarc) Workers Union members sealed offices for senior management at their head office in Blantyre, forcing them to work remotely for about two weeks now.
Information we have gathered indicates that the John Hassan-led union members were not happy with feedback which management brought from the Treasury regarding their May and June salaries, which have not yet been paid.
Board Chairperson for Admarc, Alexander Kusamba Dzonzi, said in a telephone interview Thursday that the workers have been threatening to deal with members of the management team.
But Hassan said they only sent back acting General Manager (GM) Jerome Nkhoma and Director of Finance Chrissy Nyirenda, saying the rest of the managers are working remotely out of choice.
“Yes, we have had issues but I will tell you that some of the delays are caused by the conduct of the workers union. After negotiating with the Treasury, our management was welcomed to sealed offices; so, how do they process salaries when documents are locked inside offices?” Dzonzi queried.
He then raised concern that, for many years, there has been no corporate culture within Admarc, such that most of the members of staff are resistant to change.
“We have about three cases where managers were assaulted by employees; they do not want anyone to challenge the status quo or unearth some of the ills within the corporation; or else such a person automatically becomes their enemy,” Dzonzi said.
On salaries, Dzonzi said he has information that the Treasury has released over K2 billion for them to take care of May, June and July salaries, adding that the issue of bank signatories, which was one of the challenges they were facing, was sorted out last week.
Treasury spokesperson Taurai Banda could neither confirm nor deny if the money was released, saying he was checking with relevant authorities.
Chairperson for Admarc Workers Union, Hassan, said they are not happy with how management and the board are handling the issue of salaries.
“The rest of the managers are not coming to the office out of their own will; no one sealed their offices. We, as a union, asked the GM to go back to Capital Hill and bring tangible answers regarding salaries. The answers they brought were not convincing enough and people are angry; they think the superiors do not have their interests at heart,” Hassan said.
Hassan, however distanced the union from an audio clip that has gone viral, in which one of the corporation’s employees is calling for a sit-in in all Admarc offices starting from today until they get their May and June salaries in full.
Admarc officials recently told Parliament that, out of the 3,687 employees, only 1,055 have the right qualifications for the jobs they do, with the rest bloating their wage bill, which is around K650 million a month.