Mchinji District Council direct employees yesterday closed down council offices to force authorities to pay them their five months salary arrears.
The irate employees gathered outside the council premises carrying placards and tree branches as early as 7am.
The staff, comprising revenue collectors, security guards, cleaners and casual labourers, claim that they have not received their five months salaries while casual labourers claim they have not received their 10 months wages.
A security guard who pleaded for anonymity, said his two children dropped out of secondary school due to failure to pay school fees.
“I am failing to provide food for my family and I am in debt as I borrowed money to buy food and other necessities,” he said.
Malawi Municipal Works Mchinji Chapter chairperson Richard Mwale said they have been meeting management since last year, but they have not addressed their issue.
Mchinji district commissioner (DC) Bester Mandere said he was surprised to see the employees holding protests and closing council offices after discussing with the workers union the day before.
He said: “It is unfortunate because this is happening after I held discussions with their union. The union was supposed to relay the information to fellow employees, but that was not the case; hence, the protests.”
Mandere said the council expects to pay the arrears when the lean season is over starting from next month.
However, business came back to life after the employees held discussions with the DC around noon yesterday.
The council is expected to pay the employees K24 million.