Employees of Toyota Malawi Limited yesterday closed the company’s offices in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu to force management to effect a 40 percent salary increment.
The staff also want their employer to terminate contracts of expatriate staff whose shoes they claim Malawians can ably fit into.
In an interview, one of the representatives of the workers Robert Ngona said they asked management to give them the increment following an increase in the cost of living.
He said: “The issue has been there since February. We have approached management on the matter but they said they can give us a five percent increment which we do not want.
“So after several negotiations on the matter, nothing tangible has come out and that is why we have just decided to go on strike.”
According to Ngona, the workers are in a union which is represented by the Transport and General Workers Union, a grouping that advocates for fair working conditions of employees in the transport sector.
On the issue of expatriates, he said they want the company to employ local people and let the expatriates go to their respective countries as they are doing work that does not require them.
Efforts to source a comment from Toyota Malawi Limited managing director Kennedy Kabaghe were unsuccessful yesterday as he did not pick up our calls. On Sunday, he asked that he be contacted yesterday when in office.
According to a notice dated October 12 2020 from the Transport and General Workers Union secretary general Ronald Mbewe to Toyota Malawi human resources manager, the strike followed an unsuccessful conciliation meeting on October 6.
Employers Consultative Associ a t i o n of Malawi executive director George Khaki was also out of reach; hence, could not comment on whether there were other employers facing a similar predicament as Toyota Malawi amid Covid-19 pandemic impact.
Toyota Malawi Limited is the franchise holder for Toyota vehicles and Hino trucks in the country with a market share of over 40 percent in new vehicle sales.