It never rains but pours for Likoma and Chizumulu islanders as MV Ilala is reportedly suspended following the resumption of the workers’ sit in at Malawi Shipping Company over unmet demands for salary hike.
On June 18 this year, the workers also staged another strike forcing management to increase their wages, but the management obtained an injunction to restrain the workers from continuing with the strike.
In an interview, the workers union secretary Emmanuel Wisiki said marine services will resume when management resolves their grievances.
He said: “The court injunction management obtained was vacated on August 31.
“So, we will continue with the sit-in as we wait for government to respond to our grievances.”
In a separate interview, Malawi Shipping Company spokesperson Thomas Chafunya said they are trying to find amicable ways to address the situation.
“We do not want the situation to inconvenience people as we sort out the labour issues,” he said.
Sub-Traditional Authority Mwase of Likoma hopes government will move in swiftly to help the people.
“We have been facing transportation challenges for a long time in the district,” he said.
The suspension of the vessel is an inconvenience to the islanders as government officials and businesspeople cannot travel to the mainland for important transactions.
Besides Ilala, there is MV Chilembwe which operates around Monkey Bay in Mangochi.
In the absence of Ilala, the islanders will have to board boats to the mainland, which are sometimes risky, especially when it is windy on the lake.