Dust is refusing to settle in the standoff between Chancellor College (Chanco) academic staff and University of Malawi (Unima) Council following an injunction the lecturers obtained yesterday, restraining management from acting on a conciliatory report until all parties discuss.
The lecturers are currently on a strike that forced the college to fail to open on March 20 2017.
The bone of contention is one of the recommendations in the conciliation report prepared by private practice lawyer Modecai Msisha to terminate and recover 40 percent supplementary salary that was paid to some College of Medicine (CoM) staff for rendering clinical services to the Ministry of Health.
Speaking in an interview yesterday, Chancellor College Academic Staff Union (Ccasu) president Anthony Gunde said the injunction will help facilitate good talks between the two parties.
“It means management cannot make any unilateral decisions like they had started doing without involving all academic unions and welfare associations. Only when the matter on the 40 percent salary is resolved collectively, will Chanco reopen,” he said.
Efforts to talk to Unima registrar Benedicto Malunga before we went to print proved futile as he did not pick our calls despite several attempts.
However, in an interview with The Nation on Tuesday, chairperson for Chanco concerned parents, Paul Chikwekwe, said their hopes were invested in yesterday’s meeting as they hoped that both parties would come to a mutual agreement so that their children can resume classes.
However, at a meeting that was held yesterday between the academic staff and Unima Council, both parties agreed that a task force comprising all university unions and welfare associations start meeting tomorrow afternoon.
In a letter dated March 30 2017 addressed to the staff getting the 40 percent clinical allowance, Unima Council informed the concerned staff that it will review their package that combines salary and the 40 percent allowance.
“From now onwards, the 40 percent allowance shall be paid separately from the salary as recommended by the conciliator and approved by Unima Council. Similarly, staff on training shall not earn 40 percent allowance,” reads part of the letter. n