Malawi Housing Corporation (MHC) junior employees have vowed not to resume work if the corporation will not address the issue of salary increment disparities they are protesting.
The employees, who blocked roads to the main entrance of MHC headquarters in Blantyre and regional offices in Lilongwe yesterday, are also calling for the removal of the corporation’s human resource manager, whom they accuse of favouring top management.
According to the employees, top management got a 59 percent increment while junior employees received increments ranging from 34 to 36 percent.
When The Nation crew visited MHC headquarters in the morning, the employees had blocked the main entrance with stones and tree branches, a situation that forced visitors to turn back for fear of having their cars smashed despite the situation being calm.
Some staff members in Lilongwe blocked the entrance to the building, singing and dancing while others sat under a tree playing bawo.
Central Region MHC workers union vice-chairperson Godwin Moliati said misunderstandings between the staff and management had led them to take the drastic action.
“The salary was increased last year but we noted that the top management got way more than we did, yet we are living under the same economic conditions. We are asking to be considered as well, we want 58 percent across the board for all junior staff,” he said.
Some of the employees that spoke to The Nation on conditionof anonymity said they are tired of engaging with management on the issue.
“We have been asking them [MHC management] to consider giving us a good salary increment from last year but to no avail. We are tired of what they are doing and we are not going back to work unless they bow down to our demands,” explained one employee.
He said: “Those that have been affected are employees from grades HC7 and below who are junior employees whereas those from grades HC6 and above are enjoying hefty packages. We can no longer continue being fed with lies that they are going to address this problem. We want more than this.”
However, MHC spokesperson Ernestina Lunguzi said the salary grading was based on a new grade alignment which was arrived at after comparing with other statutory corporations.
Parliament approved that MHC could operate as a commercial entity after which management asked the government for a salary structure befitting a commercial entity.
“The government then aligned the grading with a recommended salary based on the new grade alignment. This meant that each grade was given a new salary as approved by the government,” Lunguzi said.
She said what the staff received in November was the approved increment.
Lunguzi said the disgruntlement was coming in because the increment seemed too little but MHC could not go beyond the ceiling approved for each grade.