Some lecturers at College of Medicine (CoM) have obtained an injunction restraining their employer from tampering with their salaries to separate clinical allowances from what was agreed and understood to be clean wage.
The court action follows an indication by the University of Malawi (Unima) Council that effective July 1 this year the employer was going to chop 40 percent clinical allowances some lecturers at CoM have been receiving.
The Unima Council arrived at the decision as a means to harmonise salaries of staff in all the four public universities under Unima to stop a labour dispute that saw the closure of Chancellor College (Chanco) for almost seven months now.
But some of the concerned lecturers at CoM applied for an injunction at Industrial Relations Court (IRC) in Lilongwe which the court granted on June 13.
The lecturers that obtained the relief that effectively meant that their salaries cannot be tampered with until the matter is heard are doctors Kondwani Katundu, Charles Mangani, Chilungamo Chigwanda, Gertrude Chapotera, Bernard Chosamata and professors Victor Mwapasa and Adamson Muula.
The applicants argued that upon contracts they entered into with the Unima Council, they made several actions in reliance to the agreed and expected salaries and these included placing their children and dependants in schools with good education and standards, taking out loans, living standards at home and several commitments.
They argued if their salaries were deducted, they would suffer loss that cannot be even quantified in damages and even their dependants would be affected.
“One of the incentives that induced [us] to enter into the employment contracts with the respondent is the representation made by the respondent on the clean wage amounts, the respondent should therefore not be allowed to unilaterally go against the very representation made by them,” they argued.