Petroda drivers protest over low wages, poor working conditions

By Alick Junior Sichali
Drivers at a fuel retailer, Petroda boycotted work saying the company’s management is falling to honour promises they signed in their contracts.
The drivers confided in this reporter that for a long time the drivers have not been receiving a salary which they agreed.
Despite falling to get their full salary, the drivers disclosed that they are sometimes also not given their bonuses and allowances.
One of the drivers who opted for anonymity said the management has failed to explain what is happening in line with what is on their contracts.
“On our contracts we where told that our salary is 149,000 Kwacha but what we receive monthly is 46,000 Kwacha contrary to what we agreed,”.
“When we ask the management about this they have been saying that we get deducted from the loss we do,” one of the drivers said.
According to the drivers they are asked to buy spare parts of their vehicles whenever they experience a technical fault during their trip.
The drivers also complained of not being given safety boots and working suits in line of their duty.
They also lamented of poor working conditions saying more than 50 drivers are forced to use a single toilet which is at the premises of Petroda.
“The working environment here it is not good we are told to buy safety boots and forced to use a single toilet which the company has a thing that is not good to our health,” explained one of the drivers.
But in a separate interview with Managing Director of Petroda Malawi Limited, Zubeir Bhana, said the allegations made by his employees where unfounded.
Bhana accepted that the company deduct drivers salary only when they have made a loss not that they pay them MK46,000.
He further said whenever the drivers are told to buy a spare part when they encounter a technical fault they refund them.
“It is a thing we agreed that whenever they make a loss we should deduct them from their salary, so we don’t pay them 46,000 Kwacha but when we calculate everything in the end they receive that amount,” Bhana said.
Meanwhile the management and drivers are expected to meet and map the way forward.
[10/27, 05:33] Sichali: UGI embarks on a safety project in schools to reduce road accidents
By Alick Junior Sichali
United General Insurance (UGI) says it has commnced a sensitization campaign in schools on how people can prevent fatal accidents with the aim to bar road accidents from happening.
Operations Chief Excutive Officer, MacDonald Chibwe, made the remarks on Friday at Blantyre Girls Primary where they donated reflectors and road sign post to be used by pupils when they are crossing the road.
Chibwe said the country is recording a number of road accidents because people do not follow rules and instructions on the road sign posts.
“Malawi is ranked on position 4 across the world where cases of road accidents are increasing on a daily base. This is happening because most of the road users do not follow rules and instructions on the sign post, this is why we have started this safety campaign in schools to civic educate people on dangers of not following rules on the road,” Chibwe said.
Chibwe cited to overspending and driving whilst drunk as some of the causes to the road accidents happening across Malawi roads.
According to Chibwe companies and organisation need to join the fight so that cases of accidents in the country should be a history.
UGI donated reflectors and sign posts to Chitsime, Nyambadwe and Blantyre Girls Primary Schools amounting 2 million Kwacha.
The project which has a 30 million Kwacha fund is also expected to be enrolled in other schools across Malawi.

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