Malawi College of Health Sciences (MCH) lecturers have suspended a strike they have been holding for close to a year to force government to meet their demands.
In a letter addressed to MCH acting executive director and signed by staff welfare committee chairperson Hellen Mwafulirwa, the lecturers say they have resolved to resume work after government agreed to effect a 10 percent salary hike within three months from September using the 2019/20 National Budget.
“Having made careful consideration of several factors, members of staff at Malawi College of Health Sciences have decided to suspend the strike. All members are expected to report back to work on Monday 9 September 2019,” the letter reads in part.
The lecturers also resolved to return to class after government agreed that the MCH pensions committee should ensure accurate calculation of their unremitted monthly pensions and interests accrued. This also includes interests on the K188 million unpaid pension arrears.
The two sides agreed that these interests should be calculated and paid to the pension holder within three months from September 1 this year.
Another condition which the two sides agreed upon as a motivation factor for them to return to class is that lecturers should be put on group life cover immediately beginning July 1 this year to June 30 next year.
Mwafulirwa warned that if government fails to meet the conditions, the lecturers will go back on strike.
Lecturers embarked on the industrial strike in August last year, but government remained indecisive on the demands they made until a week ago when the two sides met to map the way forward.
According to MoH spokesperson Joshua Malango, government met a number of demands, including giving them a 14 percent salary increase on average.
In addition, the college also paid them K168 million accrued pension arrears, besides putting members of staff on group life cover.
According to Mwafulirwa, the remainder will be given in three installments, starting with 10 percent in the 2019/20 Budget. The remaining 20 percent will be equally distributed to them in 2020/21 and 2021/20 budgets.
If that will be implemented during this financial year, the 10 percent hike will be part of the wage bill that has been increased from K394 billion in the last fiscal year to K443 billion in the current fiscal year.