Employees of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) have returned to work, but have given their employer, the Malawi Government, two weeks to resolve the salary dispute or they will revert to striking.
ACB staff have not been working for two weeks to force government to increase their salaries by 70 percent after rejecting a 10 percent increment offer.
Last week, police, on instruction from the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC), sealed ACB offices.
However, the offices were reopened 24 hours later after President Peter Mutharika ordered a reversal of the earlier directive.
Spot checks at the ACB’s offices in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu showed that the staff have started work whose boycott affected key investigations such as Cashgate where billions of kwacha of public money were looted.
“We have started work in all our offices in Blantyre, Lilongwe, Zomba and Mzuzu. However, we have given our director-general [Lucas Kondowe] two weeks to sort out our [salary] issues or we will down tools again. The two weeks is effective January 5 2015,” said an employee who asked for anonymity.
Ipyana Msopole, one of ACB employees who the staff appointed to negotiate with the director-general, confirmed that employees have returned to work.
He said it was agreed that they should give negotiations a chance while they are working.
He confirmed that it was agreed that negotiations should not go beyond January 19 2015.
However, the main issue involves December salaries, which have not yet been paid. Our source disclosed that although the cheques were issued and banked, there is no guarantee that they will be paid.
Earlier, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe had warned that anyone who refused to return to work would not receive their December salaries.