Civil servants have fired a warning shot to Malawi government, saying they will also demand a 137 percent salary increment if MPs are awarded the same.
Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) president Eliah Kamphinda Banda has described the demand by legislators as contained in their letter to Treasury as “selfish and inconsiderate”.
Said Kamphinda Banda in an interview on Monday: “We were forced to receive an average of 21 percent, but if MPs get 137 percent, then we are saying [government should] consider the civil servants first with the same percentage as soon as possible. [If not] CSTU is ready to swiftly react to this. Government must tread carefully here.”
Kamphinda Banda said it is surprising that the civil servants have struggled to be awarded the 21 percent increment in the 2012/13 national budget when experience shows that MPsâ€™ perks are adjusted without much resistance from government.
Said the MCTU leader: “The demand by MPs is selfish. I think MPs are taking advantage of Joyce Bandaâ€™s vulnerable government. They know she is under panic. What they are forgetting is that the civil service is permanent. The damages they will cause will haunt them.
“Civil servants have not forgotten the hardships they went through during DPPâ€™s zero-deficit budget and the laughable 7 percent salary increase. Today, it wonâ€™t be forgivable to earn 21 percent against slavery taxes when someone in the same budget receives 137 percent just because there is a vulnerable government.
Kamphinda Banda emphasised that considering the economic situation, it is also only right that government should reduce ministersâ€™ monthly fuel allocation from 2 500 litres to at least 1 500 litres per month so that it is appreciated that the burden is shared.
He said the negotiations which CSTU, the Teachers Union of Malawi and the National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives entered with government yielded some results, although not satisfying.
The MPsâ€™ letter, dated June 13 2012 and signed by Deputy Clerk of Parliament for Corporate Affairs Renard Mapemba, shows proposed increments on basic pay, housing, motor vehicle maintenance allowance, utility allowance and constituency allowance.
When the MPs demanded that their basic package be increased to K1 million (about $4 000) per month last year, the late president Bingu wa Mutharika refused to endorse the proposal arguing it flouted the law because it was not routed through the parliamentary secretariat.