Employees of the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) have threatened to go on strike if government does not increase their salaries in the 2017/18 fiscal year.
MEC employees are demanding an annual increment of five percent and also a salary adjustment of 25 percent to maintain their motivation ahead of the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
Speaking when she presented the 2017/18 MEC budget to the cluster committee of Parliament in Lilongwe yesterday, MEC commissioner Linda Kunje demanded that government addresses the grievances.
She said: “Members of the secretariat have never been given any salary increment for two years. The last time they were given an increment was in the 2014/15 fiscal year.”
Kunje, who is also chairperson of MEC Finance and Administration Committee, said although the staff have resisted the temptation to go on strike, the Workers Union has been piling pressure on management to consider raising the salaries to tally with the prevailing cost of living.
“It is worth noting that the cost of living has gone up in the last two years. It is also worth noting that staff at the Commission have never resorted to going on strike in order to have their grievances on salary increments heard.
“However, it should be reported that the staff workers union has exerted pressure on the management to consider these grievances,” she said.
Kunje added that over the years, the Commission has been preparing its personal emoluments budget and proposed salary increment, but that it was never recommended by Treasury for approval by members of Parliament.
The Commission also reported that as at May 31 2011, it had accumulated severance pay arrears in excess of K117.2 million, spanning six years from 2010 when Parliament approved the Pensions Act.
However, members of Parliament (MPs) observed that it was rather late for the Commission to lobby for salary increase when government has already prepared its budget for the 2017/18 fiscal year.
Nkhata Bay Central MP Ralph Mhone, a lawyer, wondered why the Commission took so long without presenting their grievances to the attention of the National Assembly. n