yesterday called off the national industrial strike which was scheduled to take place this week following government’s delay to implement a 27 percent salary increment.
The increment represents a gap that existed between the support staff and civil servants following a salary increase in 2014.
Judiciary Staff Union spokesperson Andy Haliwa said in an interview yesterday that the support staff decided to call off the strike following a circular released by Treasury yesterday, stipulating that government will implement the increment effective this month.
“Yes, I can confirm that the strike has been called off because government released a circular yesterday that it will pay us the increment this month,” he said.
On Monday this week, the media quoted Haliwa as having said the judicial support staff was given 18 percent as salary increment in 2014, in contrast to the civil servants, who obtained a 45 percent salary hike.
Secretary to the Treasury Ben Botolo also confirmed the release of the circular, but sounded surprised to note that the support staff had planned a strike when they already agreed with government that they would get their increment this month.
Botolo said the implementation of the 27 percent hike delayed because government wanted to meet all administrative procedures needed when salaries are hiked.
He added: “In fact, there was a committee which sat down to work on the issue. There is something like harmonisation of salaries, especially for the lower cadres in government. “
According to Botolo, the Judiciary support staff will get the pay rise from the 2018/2019 financial year which begins this month.
In March 2017, the Judiciary support staff gave government a 21-day ultimatum to review their conditions of service, including the provision of housing allowance.
Last week, the Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) also cancelled its nationwide strike following the decision by government to pay them their salary arrears and leave grants dating back from 2010.
Botolo said Treasury already began paying the teachers, but he expressed worry that issues of arrear payment are failing to die in the education sector.
He expressed suspicion that there could be ghost workers in the ministry.
“We already began paying their arrears as well as their leave grants and we have been clearing this every year. But I am surprised that each and every year we have issues of arrears in the ministry. We cannot have arrears dating back from 2008. I think some of these arrears are bogus,” said Botolo.
Commenting on how the Treasury will deal with the issue of bogus arrears, if there are any, Botolo said, government has a new payment arrangement whereby every civil servant will be linked to national identity cards for authentication of payees.