Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (Escom) Staff Union on Tuesday called off its planned sit-in that could have led to a nationwide power blackout after management and government gave in to the workers’ demands.
Escom Staff Union (ESU) had threatened to go on a nationwide mass action following the expiry of their notice period on Monday served to Escom management and government, demanding clarity on job security in the wake of the pending unbundling of the corporation.
The employees wanted a comprehensive deal in form of letters of assurance over the safety of their jobs ahead of the impending restructuring to split the sole power utility into two companies.
However, government and Escom management quelled the employees’ tempers after issuing letters of assurance to the disgruntled workers.
ESU secretary general Joseph Mweneva Kamwendo said in an interview yesterday the industrial action had been cancelled after government and Escom management satisfied their requirements.
He said: “We wanted individual letters of assurances for every employee and that process started flowing just before midnight [Monday] which was our cut-off point. As I am talking to you, more than 500 of our members have already received their letters.
“We have also received signed copies of communication from the OPC [Office of the President and Cabinet] and Escom chief executive officer [John Kandulu]on the same. We have further been assured that by the end of the week, every Escom employee regardless of the geographical position, would have received the letters.”
Escom public relations manager Kitty Chingota said management was happy that the matter had been resolved amicably and “we are moving on with our work”.
According to a letter of assurance from OPC, Escom employees have been assured that the unbundling process will not lead to job losses and the staff will continue enjoying the same terms and conditions of service they currently have with Escom and will continue to accumulate years of service.
As part of the energy sector restructuring, government is effecting the restructuring of the corporation by carving out the generation division to form another independent company and restricting of the remaining Escom by adding two new functions of system and marketing operator and that of single buyer. n