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The Tea Association of Malawi Limited (TAML) and the Plantation Agriculture Workers Union (PAWU) signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) 2022-24 on Friday the 29th of July 2022.

Following the three days’ negotiations between TAML and PAWU which took place from the 20th to the 22nd of July at Thyolo Sports Club, the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) and the Communique were finally signed on Friday the 29th of July 2022.

TAML Board Chairperson and PAWU Secretary General during CBA signing

The Collective Bargaining Agreement provides a platform for wages and working conditions to be discussed and negotiated between employers and employees. The employers are represented by TAML and employees represented by PAWU. The Collective Bargaining Agreement is for a period of two years and it runs from the 1st August until the 31st of July 2024.

The first ever CBA in the Tea Industry was signed in 2016 and over the years, the two parties have agreed to meet periodically, or at least every two years, to negotiate wage increments and any other issues affecting workers’ wellbeing.

Considering the prevailing economic factors, the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, market factors that have occurred since the signing of the CBA in 2020 and more recently the impact of the war on Ukraine which has led to the skyrocketing of the prices of production inputs and the basic needs the two parties agreed to a 13 percent increase in wages effective 1st August 2022 and a conditional 5 percent wage increment from the 1st of January 2023.

In addition, the parties agreed to increase the maternity leave entitlement from 8 weeks to 12 weeks. TAML and PAWU also agreed to review the terms and conditions covered by the CBA 2022 if there is any sustained significant change in prevailing economic conditions.

PAWU Secretary General, Mr. Wilfred Nkhoma stated that they proposed a 25% increment. However, the 13% increment is very meaningful and will result into a happy and productive workforce.

Speaking during the signing ceremony TAML Board Chairperson Mr. Sangwani Hara indicated that TAML members are committed to the Agreement and to the welfare of its workers. He further urged the PAWU leadership to continue mobilizing its membership citing that the 28% membership was not enough.

TAML will conduct Sensitizations on the Collective Bargaining Agreement in all Tea Estates beginning 1st August 2022 with support from ILO.

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