Ex-JTI Employees Accuse Company of Labour Related Abuses
Some former employees of JTI Leaf Malawi Limited and JTI International are demanding that the major tobacco buyer be stripped off its accolade as Top Employer of the Year for violating labour laws and that government should intervene on human rights abuses of its employees in Malawi.
In a letter made available to this publication, the former employees are accusing the company of flouting Malawi’s labour laws by firing them willy-nilly, a development which has seen the company battling over 26 labour related cases in the Industrial Relations Court.
For close to two weeks now, this reporter has been hearing testimonies by different former JTI Leaf Malawi Employees, narrating their experiences with the country’s major tobacco buying company.
Some of them did not wish to be revealed, while some were instructed by their lawyers not to disclose their identities.
Communications Manager for JTI Leaf Malawi Jayne Nyirenda responding via a questionnaire refuted all the allegations.
Nyirenda said “We strongly refute the accusations made that JTI has violated labour and Human Rights laws. The company has carefully reviewed the allegations made by the 26 former employees and all the accusations are false and have no factual basis”
As of December 2019, Zodiak understands the company was battling 26 unfair termination cases in the Industrial Relations Court which the company, JTI insisting the terminations was done in accordance with Malawi labour laws.
The retrenched employees have also accused government of creating loopholes in the country’s labour laws, suggesting this leaves room for employers to exploit the workers.
Sounding rather concerned, Minister of Labour Ken Kandodo told us on Friday, he will be taking up the matter with urgency.