Reformed Timber Millers Union (RTMU) on Friday closed entry points to the Viphya Plantation in Mzimba to force government to listen to their grievances on the new concession.
The move paralysed activities of Raiply Malawi Limited, whose vehicles were barred from transporting logs from the forest.
In an interview, RTMU president Paul Nthambazale accused government of favouring foreign-owned companies at the expense of indigenous Malawians.
“Government gave Raiply a 20 000 hectare-concession area with mature trees while it gave us [RTMU] a 4 000 hectare-concession area which is mostly bare,” he said.
Nthambazale also said under the concession, government expects them to be paying $10 (about K7 450) per hectare every year as concession fee.
“RTMU is also expected to pay K154 million in monthly installments. We don’t see this as practical, considering that we do not have mature pine trees in our concession area,” he said.
Mzimba Police Station officer-in-charge Happy Mkandawire said the union needed to follow proper procedures in carrying out the protests.
“They don’t need to take the law into their own hands,” he said.
But Nthambazale said they informed the police about their protests.
Raiply communications officer Dalitso Chimwala said the company was saddened with the action.
“We are consulting relevant authorities for appropriate action,” he said.
Raiply started operations in March 1999.