Services in courts across Malawi may again grind to a halt by April 26 if government fails to meet demands set out by the Judiciary support staff for a revised salary.
The support staff have served a notice on government about the impending strike.
But Malawi Government spokesperson, who is also Minister of Information and Civic Education, Moses Kunkuyu, expressed ignorance on the matter. He referred the matter to Willie Samute, the Deputy Chief Secretary to the Government. Samute was not readily available for comment.
But in a letter sourced by The Nation, spokesperson of the Judiciary support staff Charles Lizigeni says they are surprised and dismayed that there has been no general salary revision despite government offering the same to the civil servants in March.
Quoting the Conditions of Service for members of staff of the Judiciary, Lizigeni said: “Reference is made to the recent general salary revision that has been effected on 25th of March to our friends in the civil service mainstream.
“If we recall when our last revision was made, it was agreed that whenever there is a general increase in salary and allowances in the civil service, the salary and allowances of member of staff of the Judiciary shall correspondingly be increased.
“The attitude by government has continued to rear its ugly head when it comes to issues pertaining revision of conditions of service and general salary revision of the Judiciary.”
In the letter, Lizigeni said Judiciary staff have heard and read that government will not be able to revise their salaries due to lack of funds.
“Given the circumstances, we as members of staff of the Judiciary are left with no option but to give an ultimatum to government that failure to implement what was agreed, we will embark on a sit-in starting from 26th April, 2013.”
Last year, before the late Bingu wa Mutharika died, judges and magistrates joined in an indefinite strike started by judiciary support staff.
Judicial clerks stopped reporting to work in January last year but the courts remained functional as judges and magistrates could be accessed.
Lawyers also threatened to stage nationwide protests if government does not address the concerns of the judicial staff.