Organisation Profiles of SPAWUM

Sugar Plantation and Allied Workers Union of Malawi (SPAWUM) was formed in 1994 and is orientated to the working class. The organisation has about 8500 members. Amongst those members, about 3500 are permanent employees while the other 5000 members are casual and seasonal workers. The organization is aimed at mobilizing workers and better wages for workers. SPAWUM objectives are getting fair labour rights for workers, fair salary and wages, clinic policies, decent work & housing.

The workers get salaries below the minimum wage which amounts to 25,000 Malawian kwacha with is equivalent to R500. Workers are not able to support their families with such wages. Illovo Malawi management and SPAWUM have met six times for wage negotiations but have not reached an agreement. As a result, both sides come to a deadlock. The organization decided to write a dispute to Minister of labor who sent a conciliator and met on 6th and 7th June 2019. That was also not a success, management insists on giving 7% increase while the SPAWUNG union wants 10%.

The demands of this organisation are directed to the the Human Resource Managers of the companies and most of them they respond very well but not all the time.

By Malena Phake

The SPAWUM organisation is mostly mobilising the working class people in their community. Some of the challenges that the organisation is faced with lack of funding as they rely on donors and do not have enough resources. The members live far and struggle to make meetings but the effort is there. The members of the organization also have low levels of education which means their organizing and campaigns are limited.

The organization is due to have another meeting with the employers scheduled for 25 June 2019

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