Member of Parliament (MP) for Dowa East, Richard Chimwendo Banda, has proposed a minimum wage increase of about 118 percent.
In his contribution to the mid-year budget review statement that Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, presented on Friday last week, Chimwendo Banda, asked the Ministries of Labour and Finance to raise the daily wage from about K687 to K1,500.
The Social Welfare Committee of Parliament Chairperson said the current minimum wage is an economic abuse to workers in some Asians, Chinese and locally-owned shops, companies and factories.
According to Chimwendo Banda, the country cannot continue pretending and move on as if everything is fine.
“The minimum wage makes life unbearable and one cannot take care of a family using K687.70 a day. The Minister of Finance and his [Ministry of] Labour colleague should raise the minimum wage, which is critical for Malawian workers,” Chimwendo Banda said.
He said the social welfare committee touring of some companies, shops and factories revealed a lot of economic suffering among Malawian casual labourers.
Minister of Labour, Henry Mussa, said although the review of minimum wage is a good suggestion but the figure of K1,500 that Chimwendo Banda has suggested has no economic justification.
Mussa said there is need for social partners who include Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU), Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (Ecam) and Ministry of Labour to sit down and have a collective bargain before coming up with the new minimum wage.
“If you look at the figure of K1,500, which the honourable member is proposing, you will see that the figure is not justified in terms of how he arrived at such a figure. Because when reviewing the minimum wage there is need for us to hear the suggestions of all social partners and thereafter we come up with one figure. We need to know how much employers can manage to pay their employees, considering their wage bill. We really need to appreciate the employers’ position,” Mussa said.
Recent food basket monthly reports from Centre for Social Concern indicate that on average, a family of six people, requires over K160,000 for basic house necessities in the country’s cities but some informal labourers receive an average of K20, 000 per month.
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