Sheikhs working for Al Nidau Islamic foundation staged a protest aimed at compelling the management to effect salary increment saying they are finding it hard to survive due to the current economic situation.
Despite being subjected to poor salaries, this is the very first time for the sheikhs in Malawi, the country regarded as one of the poorest in the world take such an industrial action.
Malawi Muslims official website understands that the sheikhs have been engaged in a vigil at the offices in Zomba city pushing for an 80 percent salary increment.
One of the sheikhs who declined to be mentioned said that they decided to down their tools after observing that the management was not fulfilling its promise of increasing the salaries.
“I can tell you that for the past three years, our salaries have not been increased. But look how hard things are now interms of economy – prices of commodities are skyrocketing. Therefore, this is to show them that we are unhappy with the situation.
“We have been discussing this issue for quite a number of occasion but they (management) have been refusing to increase our salaries which are very pathetic,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, trustees of the organization met the sheikhs on Thursday and offered a 30 percent increment and promised to effect the remaining part (50 percent) in three months time.
The sheikhs have since halted the strike but vowed to take another unspecified industrial action if the organization fails to keep its promise.
It is understood due to inadequate funds, the organization has scrapped off some of its programmes in order to meet the sheikhs’ demand.
Director of the Zomba based organization Sheikh Abdul -rahaman Kalako confirmed the development in an interview saying that the situation has been normalized.
“Indeed there was a strike here but we have managed to increase their salaries by 25 to 30 percent but we hope that their demand will be fully met in few months to come,” he said.
Currently Malawi is sailing through economic hardships, a situation that of late has been compelling workers in different sectors to demand for salary hike.
Recently, civil servants had to down their tools in order to force government increase their salaries by 61 percent.
Undoubtedly the sheikhs’ strike crippled some of the organisation’s activities such as madrassah.
The organization which was branched out of Zam Zam Foundation operates several Islamic learning centres( madrassah) in four districts of Zomba, Mangochi , Machinga.