The Tea Association of Malawi (Taml) and the Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (Pawu) on Friday signed a new collective bargaining agreement which, among other things, would see an 11.29 percent upward adjustment in the minimum wage of workers in the tea industry.
The wage has been revised from K1,240 (about $1.70) to K1,380 (about $1.90) per day and would be effected on August 1 2018.
The agreement, second of its kind, would run for two years until July 31, 2020.
The move is part of the tea sector revitalization drive, aimed at improving quality and productivity as well as the sector’s input to the national economy.
Addressing journalists after signing the agreement in Blantyre, Taml Chairperson, Sangwani Hara, said the pact is meant to incentivise the players for efficiency and effectiveness in tea production.
“Both the wages and the conditions have improved in the new agreement. We would want to see the tea sector continuing to improve and its input to the GDP [Gross Domestic Product] GDP continuing to grow,” Hara said.
Pawu President, Gracian Khembo, expressed contentment over the wage rise.
“This is good for us and we hope our members would also be happy. This means increased disposable income for our members, who are the workers in the tea industry,” Khembo said.
In addition to the minimum wage hike, the new guidelines also recommend demolition of dilapidated workers’ houses in tea estates, where new houses would be built.
Khembo said this would motivate workers.
Principal Labour Officer in the Ministry of Labour, Frank Adini, said the new agreements are in line with labour laws and would help in ensuring that the tea industry remains sustainable while providing decent work to employees.
The tea sector is reportedly the largest formal sector employer in the country, employing about 50,000 workers and providing livelihoods to more than 12,000 smallholder farmers.