Construction at Nkhata Bay Market in Malawi resumes

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Construction workers at the Nkhata Bay Market in Malawi have ended their two-week strike and resumed work after resolving their issues with the employer. It is alleged that China Gansu Engineering Corporation Limited hadn’t paid the workers since the start of construction works on July 30 this year.

Bone of contention

According to a foreman, Wilton Bakali they started work without signing any contract regarding their wages. “We did not sign any contract with the employer up until the end of the month when he produced the document which had conditions that we did not agree with,” he said. The documents outlined a daily wage ranging from K1 000 to K1 300.

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The workers reported the issue to Nkhata Bay Bowa Ward councillor Celia Nyamwera Adamana who tried to reason with the employer. “After my intervention the company changed nothing and I asked the workers to lodge their complaint with the District Labour Office for further assistance,” he said.

But Nkhata Bay district labour officer Lanwell Mkisi blamed both parties for failing to sign a contract agreement prior to work. “We don’t work for somebody without a work or contract agreement unless we want to be exploited. Any form of employment needs to follow proper procedures,” he said. Mkisi advised that all workers be paid following government minimum wage of K1 346.16 per day.

In an interview, China Gansu Engineering Corporation Limited site manager Zhong said the issue was an administrative misunderstanding. He has since agreed to pay each worker K1 346.16 per day.