Government has approved the restructuring of positions at National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA), a development that will eventually lead to increased salaries and benefits for staff, the agency’s chief executive officer Nasinuku Saukila has confirmed.
This follows a four-day sit-in that started last Wednesday and disrupted the purchase and offloading of grain at NFRA offices in Lilongwe where staff sealed off offices of senior managers to force them to influence government’s decision.
Saukila said the employees will soon get their letters indicating the changes. He said half of the letters had already been written by yesterday morning.
Said Saukila: “As we are speaking now, letters for half of the employees have already been written and I am sure earliest tomorrow [today], the staff will receive their individual letters notifying them how the changes may affect them.”
He also said recommendations were made following a functional review that was commissioned after the NFRA board noted pay disparities among the staff.
The review also noted that there were some staff members who were less qualified than others yet received more by virtue of their being in higher positions.
However, Saukila could not disclose the average increment percentage as this would be confidential information for individual employees.
He indicated that during the four-day period, the agency and other stakeholders lost business.
Saukila also said this being a peak period for business at NFRA, close to 500 trucks of maize could not be off-loaded, thereby lengthening the period which the vehicles waited to off-load.
One of the staff said the sit-in was called off following communication which was read to them yesterday morning, indicating that government had finally approved the changes.
The employee, who refused to disclose his name, said the staff members only promised to work until close of business yesterday and if by Tuesday morning the letters are not available, the sit-in would resume.
He said: “We have agreed to work only for today [Monday] and if by tomorrow there will not be the promised letters we are resuming this sit-in.”