Malawi College of Health Sciences (MCHS) staff have downed their tools starting from on Monday to force management to give them a 47 percent salary increment and pay outstanding pension premiums.
Staff of the college’s three campuses of Zomba, Blantyre and Lilongwe has said they will continue with the strike until management gives them a concrete response to their demands.
“We want them to work on our conditions of service so that we are in line with other statutory corporations. We have tried to discuss with them several times and have written them a number of letters but they ignore us.
“We have tried to engage the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour and the Department of Statutory Corporations but we haven’t received any response from them,” said Hellen Mwafulirwa, deputy chairperson of the college’s staff welfare committee.
She said they gave the management the required 21 days before the strike but it did not show any commitment to address their issues.
On the issue of pension, the staff accused the college management of not remitting pension to Nico Insurance since 2015, which they said has resulted in retired members of staff and beneficiaries of deceased members of staff getting peanuts as they lose out on interests and bonuses.
Efforts to speak to the college’s acting executive director Pearson Namachotsa proved futile as his phone went unanswered despite several attempts.
However, inside sources said he was locked up in a meeting in Dowa discussing the issue with some members of the welfare committee.
When contacted, Ministry of Health spokesperson Joshua Malango said the college does not report to the ministry as it is under the Department of Statutory Corporations.
“However, even though we have a limited intervention, it is in our interest to see that the institution is operating,” he said.
In October 2016, the college was closed for a month after management refused to give the staff a 60 percent salary increment citing financial constraints.
The college, which graduates about 400 students a year, offers certificates and diplomas in biomedical science, clinical medicine, nursing science and midwifery, dental therapy, ophthalmology, pharmacy, optometry, environmental health, community nursing , psychiatric nursing and radiography.