Centre for Social Concern (CfSC) and the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) have faulted Treasury for not adjusting the minimum wage upwards from the current K35 000 per month.
The two organisations argue that at the current level, the monthly minimum wage is disadvantaging lowly-paid workers.
Speaking at a joint news conference in Lilongwe on Friday, the two institutions said that by not adjusting the minimum wage in the 2020/21 National Budget, government is amplifying economic inequalities between the rich and the poor.
CfSC director James Ngahy said the current minimum wage is unrealistic amid the Covid-19 pandemic which has brought many economic problems for workers.
He said: “Our initial proposal has been to raise the minimum wage to K100 000, but due to the current Covid-19 pandemic that is affecting the economy, we think at least K60 000 would have been ideal for lowly-paid workers to survive.”
MCTU general secretary Dennis Kalekeni said majority of workers are facing difficult economic challenges to survive.
“We are urging the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development and members of Parliament to consider increasing the minimum wage to at least K75 000 to enable lowly-paid workers survive two thirds of the month,” he said.
Kalekeni said the Tripartite Labour Advisory Council that comprises the government, employers and workers representatives resolved that minimum wage should be revised upwards annually to ensure lowly-paid workers are empowered.
In the K2 trillion 2020/21 National Budget, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamvekha only raised the tax-free band from K45 000 to K50 000.