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Salary, tax concerns dominate Labour Day

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By Jameson Chauluka:

Issues of low salaries and high taxes dominated concerns which workers raised during this year’s Labour Day commemorations held in Blantyre Wednesday.

‘Salary ikungothera msonkho; Happy workers, better Malawi; We need salary increment now; Stop discrimination at workplace,’ were some of the messages that dominated placards and banners which the workers carried as they marched.

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Malawi Congress Party president, Lazarus Chakwera, who took part in the parade, promised that, once voted into power at the May 21 Tripartite Elections, his administration would, among other initiatives, raise minimum wage to K50,000 and tax-free band to K100,000.

“I have read most of the messages and I have taken note of them. Come May 21, we are raising the minimum wage to K50,000 and tax-free band to K100,000 so that Malawians can have disposable income,” he said.

The commemorations started with a parade from Blantyre Old Town Hall to Njamba Freedom Park, where the main function took place.

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Malawi Congress of Trade Unions President, Luther Mambala, said he wanted Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Minister Grace Chiumia, who was the guest of honour at the event, to take note of the workers’ concerns.

“Most of us are getting low salaries but are taxed a lot. We also want the government to employ over 2,000 nurses who are just idle. Internship yes, but what we want is full-time employment,” he said.

During the commemorations, Maureen Phiri, who is the Ambassador of Ndiulula Campaign under Action Aid, a project aimed at ending sexual violence against women in workplaces, urged the authorities to adopt International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention on Gender-Based Violence.

“I am a survivor of gender-based violence (GBV) at a place of work and that is why I am passionate to end GBV in workplaces. We want ILO Convention on Gender-Based Violence adopted in June so that GBV in workplaces should end,” she said.

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