Fired employees from Silver Spirit Malawi Limited have accused the Ministry of Labour of being indifferent to their complaints after they sought help at the regional office in the North on Tuesday.
The employees wanted the ministry to intervene in the labour dispute with the employer, whom they accused of paying peanuts and not giving them assurance that they would receive the minimum wage of K18 600 (about $46.50) as agreed upon by employers and employees recently.
One of the fired employees, Kondwani Mkandawire, said 43 employees were dismissed for asking the company to raise their current K9 500 (about $23.75) wage a month, to meet the minimum wage of K18 600 per month, which was agreed upon by the business community in Mzuzu this month.
Mkandawire said the employees were disappointed with labour officials because they were simply sent back after the officials had spoken to the employer in their absence.
“We went to the regional labour office to seek help, but upon arrival, we found him [our manager Mr Kibo] already there with the officials. The officials, in turn, told us to return for work because they had discussed the matter with our manager.
“To our disappointment, our manager reinstated 34 of us, leaving out six others, who were perceived to be ringleaders,” Mkandawire said in an interview.
The six employees, who have worked for close to a year, have since been given K16 700 (about $41.70) as compensation.
Principal secretary for Labour James Kalirangwe directed the issue to the Commissioner of Labour, who was not available and chief labour officer Linda Mtegha-Kawamba said she needed time to find out about the issue.