Malawian Airlines staff to ground planes

Employees of Malawian Airlines are set to ground the company’s two planes from December 9 to protest against their management’s alleged lack of willingness to implement salary restructuring after a month of failed negotiations.

The staff said they will down their tools until their demands are met, a move that will affect all flights the airline operates

Passengers disembark a Malawian Airlines plane

In an interview yesterday, Transport and General Workers Union general secretary Ronald Mbewe confirmed about the pending strike, saying they have been in dialogue for long, but management allegedly ignored the employees’ bargain.

“We have written the company and copied to the Ministry of Labour. Our major issue is salary, people have stayed in one position for so long without salary increment and promotion ever since the company started operating.

“On top of that, there is a huge difference between Malawians and Ethiopians working on the same job and grade and even where a Malawian is better qualified, the others get more. In summary, the working conditions for Malawians are not good,” he said.

One of the workers who spoke on conditions of anonymity said the airline’s management is not considerate about Malawians.

According to a letter to the airline’s management, the industrial action is taking place in line with Section 45, Subsection 2(b) of the Labour Relations Act.

Malawian Airlines public relations officer Joseph Josiah asked for more time to consult before making an official comment.

He said: “Let me consult first and see if the letter has reached management.”

Malawi Airlines Limited is the national flag carrier of Malawi registered as partnership with 51 percent stake held by Malawi Government and 49 percent by Ethiopian Airlines which also provides the management.

The airline operates two aircrafts with direct flights to regional cities of Johannesburg in South Africa, Lusaka in Zambia, Harare in Zimbabwe and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. It also operates domestic flights between Lilongwe and Blantyre.

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