Staff at Blantyre Water Board (BWB) on Wednesday downed tools to press management to harmonise their salaries with those of their counterparts at Lilongwe Water Board (LWB).
When The Nation crew visited BWB’s premises in Makata in the morning hours, they found some of the staff loafing around while others were attending meetings taking place within the premises.
BWB public affairs officer Priscilla Mateyu said the workers had really downed their tools, but was quick to say it was not an ongoing situation as they were waiting for a response to their concerns from the board’s chief executive officer, Andrew Thawe, who at that time was in Lilongwe.
“What is going on now cannot be defined as a sit-in because the workers union is discussing with management on the way forward and the workers have since agreed to wait for management’s response as it will determine if they go ahead and have a sit-in or not,” said Mateyu.
In an interview around noon yesterday, BWB trade union president James Monjeza said the workers were still discussing with management to see if the issue could be sorted out amicably.
He, however, was non-committal on the percentage the workers are demanding from management for pay hike.
Meanwhile, BWB has admitted that their water supply was low because some of the board’s equipment is old.
Mateyu also placed the blame on people who cultivate around Mudi Dam catchment area, noting that this leads to siltation.
“We have put aside K70 million to compensate people cultivating around our catchment area so that they stop. The payment will be done after discussions with Blantyre City Council,” she said.