Civil servants and teachers have threatened to paralyse services in the country starting with a sit-in this Thursday if government does not respond to their demands regarding leave grant and salary by close of business today.
The threat has come barely seven days before the May 20 Tripartite Elections and is the second in the administration of Joyce Banda who ascended to the presidency on April 7, 2012 in line with constitutional order after the death of former president Bingu wa Mutharika.
The impending strike also comes hot on the heels of a Judiciary support staff strike which is currently taking place across the country.
Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU) and Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) issued a press release yesterday in which they explained that the decision to stage the sit-in was made following failure by government to implement the agreed recommendations by both the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) and CSTU during their meeting held on April 24 2014.
CSTU and TUM have further asked their members to gather at Capital Hill ‘Freedom Park’ in Lilongwe on Tuesday at 12pm and at Government Building Park in Blantyre at 9.30am where a road map of the impending strike would be outlined.
The unions have since written Chief Secretary to the Government Hawa Ndilowe about the impending strike and sit in.
“We wish to emphasise that such inconsiderate delays in implementing our considered mutual agreements have eroded confidence and patience which the entire civil service had in government’s commitment to address our concerns,” reads the letter to Ndilowe dated May 12 2014.
The letter, copied to the chairperson of the GNT, Ben Botolo, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Secretary for Education and secretary general of the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU), reiterated that if their demands for a circular on leave grants and feedback on salary revision were not complied with, a sit-in leading to a strike would start on Thursday.
In an interview last evening, Botolo said the situation was regrettable.
He said: “By 11am [today], a circular pertaining to leave grants would be issued as agreed.
“On salary, it is an ongoing issue which would be addressed in the new financial year as it cannot be discussed before the budget is approved in Cabinet then Parliament.”