Worker wages are set through the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), and the wages are assessed by an independent wages committee, highlighting the gap with the living wage after computing the living wage threshold.

Key Achievements

  • 33%

    of the living wage gap has been closed

    for 50,000 tea workers

  • 1st

    CBA between workers (PAWU) and employers (TAML)

    in the Malawian tea sector, with incremental progress towards a living wage through annual wage rises, despite Malawi’s high inflation rate.

  • Yearly

    analyses by the Wages Committee

    for living wage gap, living wage benchmarks and value of in-kind benefits.

  • PAWU


    ensuring that both operational and strategic systems are in place, including an income for PAWU from members and estate contributions

  • PAWU

    gender strategy and women’s committees

    Formally establishing gender strategy and women’s committees within PAWU

Timeline of Activities

Though the five years of the program, between 2016 and 2020, continues capacity-building activities for PAWU have been implemented and the yearly wages committee reported.

  • May 2016

    Recognition Agreement between TAML and PAWU

  • July 2016

    First ever CBA in the Malawian Tea sector

  • 2018

    Signing of second CBA & PAWU adopts constitution, strategic plan (in local vernacular) and gender policy

  • November 2019

    Tax study on implications of income tax on lowest-paid workers

  • March 2020

    PAWU membership peaks at 26.7%

  • September 2020

    CBA discussions result in 2% wage increment, with the agreement for revision in July 2021

Stories from the field

  • How collective bargaining impacts individual workers

    The Malawi tea industry’s first-ever collective bargaining agreement makes important strides towards living wage for workers A living wage for tea workers is one of the core goals of the…

    Read more
    How collective bargaining impacts individual workers


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