Government has formalised the new minimum wage to come into effect on January 1 2020 by publishing the new law in the Government Gazette notice number 68 under the Employment Act (Amendment) 2019.
However, Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) secretary general Dennis Kalekeni, in a telephone interview said the union will lodge a formal complaint with the Ministry of Labour, Skills and Innovation to protest the decision to delay implementation of the new minimum wage by six months after passage of the budget.
Earlier, MCTU president Luther Mambala, also indicated that they were engaging with government to address the concern as soon as possible.
During the 2019/20 National Budget sitting in September, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Joseph Mwanamveka, announced that the minimum wage has been revised upwards from K25 000 to K35 000 per month, meaning lowly-paid workers will be receiving K1 346 from K962 per day.
But Kalekeni this week said while they agree to the new minimum wage, workers have lost out due to implementation delay, because the union wanted the new law to come into effect after presentation of the budget on July 1.
“The challenge is the issue of the effective date. We feel that thorough consultations were not made because if the budget was presented and adopted, it means everything embedded in it was supposed to start from the start of the financial year,” said Kalekeni.
Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito, said it is extremely important to review the minimum wage constantly as even the new minimum wage still falls short of the wage demands.
“While we appreciate the current wage revision, we still expect that government will continue reviewing these wages as they are still below the minimum wage demands that would meet the continued cost of living,” he said.
The revision of the minimum wage comes three years after government last increased the minimum wage by 24 percent from K19 000 to K25 000 a month.