There was dancing and chanting at MBC House in Malawiâ€™s commercial city, Blantyre, on Thursday as employees who were affected by the July 2010 merger demanded their August salaries, threatening to hold a vigil at the premises if their demands would not be met.
The employees, who have been holding peaceful protests since September10, said Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) management breached an agreement that they should receive their salaries until their pensions were paid.
One of the employees, Chimwemwe Tsitsi, said the employeesâ€™ actions were based on a letter dated July 16 2012 from the Secretary to the Treasury signed by Goodluck Chaphulika.
Â Reads the letter in part: â€œReference is made to your letter dated 5th July 2012 addressed to the Secretary for Information and copied to Secretary to the Treasury. You request for K23 million as July 2012 salaries for retrenched workers on understanding that the 2012/13 budget allocation to MBC caters for retained 413 members of staff only.
â€œYou may wish to be advised that salaries for the retrenched workers must be met from your 2012/13 Budget Provision until such a time when this issue will be conclusively resolved.â€
Tsitsi said they will continue to press MBC management for their dues, claiming they continued working for the State broadcaster until August 31 2012 despite the retrenchment.
â€œSometimes, we would be asked to render our services to the institution, but received no pay for that. Work without pay is against the Constitution, fair labour practices and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
â€œWhen we ask management for our salaries, they tell us our issue is complicated but we were promised to receive our salaries by the director general (DG) Benson Tembo and also from the letter sent by the Secretary to the Treasury. We will live and sleep here as we are waiting for our salaries and pensions,â€ said Tsitsi.
MBC public relations officer Ruth Gama is on record as having said the DG was working on the matter.
â€œThe DG is still working towards it, but with financial hardships that the corporation is going through, it is hard, but they just have to bear with management,â€ she said.