Lujeri Tea Pluckers Call Off Strike
A three-day strike by tea pluckers at Lujeri Tea Estate Company in Mulanje over alleged abuses by Operations Manager has come to an end with the company’s directorate and tea industry’s mother body, Tea Association of Malawi Limited (TAML) promising to discipline the manager.
But the tea pluckers told Zodiak Online the Operations Manager, Amit Nain, has been insulting them on petty issues, was throwing away the tea they pluck claiming its quality was below standard and introduced payment of wages based on quantity of plucked tea and some ended up receiving less than government set minimum wage of K1, 923.08.
“Though we are back to the field, the anger is still in us and we no longer want to see the manager in any of the tea fields even anywhere close to Lujeri Tea Estate Office,” said the tea pluckers.
The company’s Managing Director Grant Bramsen said the reasons raised are not true and he attributed the strike to past misconceptions and recent miscommunications. He did not elaborate.
“The strike is over and the tea pluckers are back to work, otherwise we have incurred production loss during their strike,” said Grant.
In contrary, Chief Executive Officer of the tea industry’s mother body, Tea Association of Malawi Limited (TAML) Beyan Munthali said the company has lodged its investigations abuses by the operations manager.
“We held discussions from Thursday up to Saturday and their major demand is that management should withdraw the manager in question from field working and issuing instructions, so investigations in the whole matter has commenced,” said Munthali.
District Labour Officer in Mulanje, Edward Shafi, said after listening and analyzing complaints from the tea pluckers, he is convinced that the tea pluckers had a case and he said the company management has promised to look into their concerns and appropriate disciplinary actions will be taken.
“Though dust appears to have settled now, we have asked the company’s management to quickly look into the tea pluckers’ concerns and address them in accordance with labor laws.
This happened just a week after some workers at another big tea growing company- Eastern Produce Malawi Limited (EPM) accused the company’s management of discriminating COVID-19 positive and suspected case.