Le personnel du Malawi poursuit Madonna en justice pour 'renvoi injuste'.
BLANTYRE (AFP) – Eight ex-employees of a Malawian charity founded by Madonna are suing the pop diva for unfair dismissal after being fired from her $15-million girls' academy, a court official said Monday.
"The staff at Madonna's charity Raising Malawi accuse the singer of terminating their employment due to (a) change in strategy which had not been properly explained to them," the official told AFP.
"The staff are demanding their terminal benefits because they think their employment was terminated without proper procedures," added the source, an official of the country's industrial relations court who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Led by the former head of the much-publicised girls' academy, Anjimile Oponya, the senior staff members also claim they are being "forced to sign a discriminatory termination agreement which is unfair and unconstitutional," the official said.
Madonna announced in January that she was overhauling plans for Raising Malawi, which was originally to be a school that would offer 500 scholarships to girls from poor backgrounds.
But the pop star said she realised the academy "would not serve enough children in a country where 33 percent of Malawian girls attend secondary school".
She said she wanted to "reach thousands not hundreds of girls" with education and would expand the charity's mission and change its management.
"We are focused on an approach, which builds schools within communities across the country," she said.
"The implementation of my original vision is now on a much bigger scale. I want to do more and I want to do it better. We are in the process of implementing several changes and additions to the management of Raising Malawi both in the US and Malawi," she said.
Malawi's education standards have plummeted because of overcrowded classrooms, shortages of teachers and learning materials.
Madonna has adopted two orphans from the impoverished country, David and Mercy, among an army of one million orphaned children whose parents have died of AIDS.
She funds several orphanages, including Home of Hope in Mchinji, 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the capital, Lilongwe, where she first adopted David in 2006.
The orphanages feed, clothe and house 25,000 orphans in central Malawi.
US pop star Madonna with students
US pop star Madonna(L) with students at her "Raising Malawi Academy for Girls" in Chinkhota, Malawi in 2010. Eight ex-employees of the Malawian charity are suing the pop diva for unfair dismissal after being fired from her $15-million girls' academy, a court official said Monday.
Photo: AFP/Amos Gumulira.