Labour Ministry engages water sector workers on pay
Ministry of Labour officials Tuesday engaged Water Employees Trade Union of Malawi (Wetum) on the issue of pay rise, asking union leaders and water boards’ management to identify a conciliator.
Secretary for Labour Dickson Chunga justifies the ministry’s strategy, saying officials arrived at the decision after examining Section 44(2) of the Labour Relations Act.
He says they expected the conciliator to facilitate a settlement of the dispute within 21 days.
“Since water boards have different capacities to fulfil the union’s demand, I further advise that this element should be considered during the negotiations,” Chunga says in a letter he has signed.
On January 13 2021, Wetum sought the intervention of the ministry after failing to agree with employers. Among other things, union leaders want all five water boards to effect salary increments for permanent workers.
Chunga expresses hope that water boards would commit themselves to settle the dispute amicably as it requires both parties to negotiate in good faith.
“I trust that you will identify a suitable conciliator and amicably settle the dispute through the conciliation process, taking into account that water is life,” he said.
Wetum General Secretary Ganizani Thyangathyanga said the union would communicate to respective water boards’ management on the way forward.
“We will be meeting the management [members], next week possibly, so that we can discuss and find the conciliator,” he said.
The union, according to Thyangathyanga, resorted to engage the ministry after noting that water board managers did not give them feedback after they were engaged in November 2020.