Talks between Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) and government are expected to enter the third week on Wednesday as the two parties continue to hash out issues concerning salaries and allowances as demanded in their March petition.
CSTU issued a petition to the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) on March 27 2014 which did not please the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) who accused the union of going behind its back and undermining its authority.
However, the discussions started two weeks ago.
CSTU secretary general Madalitso Njolomole confirmed in an interview yesterday that talks are expected to continue on Wednesday and Thursday on the specific demands of salary increment and allowances most of which were scrapped in November last year as part of cost-cutting measures.
The union claimed there was an understanding that there would be a consideration for a mid-year salary review during the mid-term budget meeting which has not taken place following withdrawal of budgetary support after revelations of theft of government funding.
CSTU had also argued that the cost cutting measures had affected service delivery in many areas because civil servants were not able to carry out their work due to lack of funding.
“Last week, we were informed that the IMF [International Monetary Fund] had reviewed the proposed budget and discussions were held, but we are yet to get feedback on whether our proposal for implementation of the salary review have been incorporated,” Njolomole said.
In its fifth mission report a few weeks ago, the IMF said it would return in June after elections to confirm the understanding reached at before the report was submitted to its management for consideration of the $20 million disbursement as part of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Programme.
The IMF mission held discussions with stakeholders from the Ministry of Finance, Reserve Bank of Malawi and civil society on the country’s fiscal progress and outlook for 2014/15 budget which comes into effect at the end of June.
But CSTU conceded that most of their demands would need the approval of Parliament, whose future meeting remains in limbo because Section
67 of the Constitution gives the President discretion to call for an emergency meeting once Parliament has dissolved.
But with 30 days to go before elections, all indications are that Parliament would only meet once new members are elected to the House after May 20.