Minority sports codes that use Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) facilities were yesterday stranded after the statutory corporation’s staff staged a strike in protest against low perks.
The strike saw the workers shut down Sports Council’s facilities across the country, affecting minority sports codes such as basketball, lawn tennis, boxing, taekwondo, shotokan, kendo and judo.
In Blantyre, Blantyre Youth Centre (BYC) was locked and deserted leaving youths who use the facility helpless.
BYC overseer Griffin Saenda was at home when we called him for comment.
“I have no idea of what you are talking about,” he said. “I am not at work today.”
When we visited the head office at Chichiri in Blantyre, the staff had blocked entrance to the premises that also house offices for Athletics Association of Malawi (AAM) and Netball Association of Malawi (NAM).
Sports Council executive secretary George Jana was not available for comment as he was locked in a meeting with top management.
One of the workers at Sports Council said they were frustrated by the administration for failing to raise their perks for the past three years.
“Our salaries are the lowest among statutory corporations. Some of us get as low as K21 000 per month. How do they expect us to survive in town? How can that money be used to pay rentals, school fees for our kids and food?” he said.
The member of staff said the strike followed the procedure, including informing the Ministry of Labour, Sports, Youth and Manpower Development on their grievances.
“The Ministry is aware of the situation. We have been in discussions on the issue with our bosses for the past three years but to no avail. The strike is our last option,” another worker said.
According to a letter which The Nation has seen, the employees wrote Ministry of Labour on August 26 informing them about the industrial action.
The letter reads in part: “The management had admitted that our salaries are much lower than those of our colleagues in other statutory corporations, hence the need for restructuring.
“Several meetings have been conducted by the management where we have been assured that the issue would be sorted out urgently as money meant for this is readily available and just waiting for approval from statutory office. But for the past three financial years nothing on the matter has been done and the staff remained patient.”