Minister of Labour and Manpower Development Henry Mussa says while the country’s set labourers’ minimum wage of K21 297 ($30) per month is on the lower side, in the face of skyrocketing commodity prices, those affected will have to wait until after August this year before a probable upward adjustment.
The minister was responding to a query by Lilongwe Msozi South member of Parliament (MP) Vitus Dzoole-Mwale (Malawi Congress Party-MCP) that the minimum wage should be increased as the current rate is bringing survival misery for the poor labourers and their families.
He explained that the concerned people would have to persevere until in August when the wage may be up for a review by what he called “social partners”.
Explained Mussa: “This is where you have the employer, the unions and the Ministry of Labour as a referee. They look at the economic dynamics of the country [before effecting changes].”
In asking the question, Dzoole-Mwale drew a roar of laughter when he seemed to put on airs and reminded the House that he was “shadow Minister of Labour.”
Another light moment came earlier when Balaka Central East MP Aufi Mpaweni (United Democratic Front–UDF) complained that one “Chwee Mwana Chwee” in the House was disturbing the UDF chief whip Lillian Patel, who is also MP for Mangochi South.
Chwee Mwana Chwee is a well-known nickname for Rumphi East MP Kamlepo Kalua (People’s Party–PP).
Then presiding as chair of the Committee of Supply in the House, First Deputy Speaker Esther Mcheka Chilenje laughingly made out that she does not know that name.