Minister of Labour Ken Kandodo on Wednesday advised Malawian Airlines workers to call off their planned strike, saying dialogue is critical in handling matters involving employers and employees.
Malawian Airlines is a public private partnership between Ethiopian Airlines (ET), which owns a 49 percent stake, and the Government of Malawi with 51 percent stake.
Kandodo met representatives of the union for Malawian Airlines at his office in Lilongwe.
The minister told the union members that after his office received communication that workers at the airline wanted to stage a strike, he called management of the company to appreciate their grievances.
Kandodo said management of Malawian Airlines is ready for dialogue with its workers to chart the way forward.
“I insisted [to management] that we should at least have a member of the union from the institution. I am glad to say that the chairperson of the union came and together we had a fruitful discussion,” he said.
The meeting suggested at a number of things and one that came out clearly was the salary structure for all employees.
After the meeting, it was resolved that the workers should not go ahead with the industrial strike, but a committee be set up consisting management, workers and officials from the Ministry of Labour to expedite the process.
He said: “The committee that has been set up is there to look at the major grievances that have been pointed out by the workers, which is salary structure review.
“This committee has been given 30 days to deliberate and give their conclusion on the matter.”
Explaining the importance of meeting with the rest of the union, Kandodo said his meeting with union members was to ensure that whatever was agreed with management has the support of all workers at the Malawian Airlines.
Speaking after the meeting, Malawian Airlines Affiliate of Transport and General Workers Union chairperson Thokozani Matumba said they met the Minister of Labour for the first time on issues that concern their institution.
He said since 2019, workers and management have had disagreements to meet their demands which, among them, were the salary structure review, a defined funeral assistance package and a collective bargaining agreement for both the employer and employees.
“We engaged a conciliator to look into the issues and after his investigation found that indeed there was a dispute between workers and management and it was in this regard that we agreed to stage an industrial strike on Wednesday January 6 2020,” said Matumba.