Nurses working in public hospitals have given Malawi government a 14-day ultimatum from last Tuesday to address their outstanding salary issue or they will join the ongoing civil servants’ stay-away.
The National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi (Nonm), a non-governmental organisation that represents nurses, midwives and student nurses/midwives, has written chairperson of the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) in a letter, informing him of their decision to join the strike.
GNT chairperson Dr MacPhail Magwira, who is one of the principal secretaries at Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, confirmed in an interview on Wednesday he received the letter.
He said it was being addressed together with grievances by all civil servants.
He said a task force was scheduled to start meeting from yesterday morning, adding he was not a member of that task force, but it included government officials and representatives of Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU).
But CSTU president Eliah Kamphinda Banda said his union only got communication from GNT chairperson, inviting them to go and look into what the task force has come up with. He said CSTU was yet to look at the proposals.
In the letter, the nurses’ body notified all the concerned parties that it continued to support the stay-away of civil servants on February 11 and 12 in solidarity, having failed to join in view of the nature of their work.
In a related development, the civil servants continued with the stay-away yesterday and the CSTU warned that the strike, which was set for two days only, was going to continue up to Friday should government fail to show commitment.
Yesterday, the strike at Capital Hill in Lilongwe continued as staff stayed away from their offices, thereby grinding business of government ministries and departments to a halt.
In the morning, Capital Hill staff blocked several roads at the government headquarters with tree branches and gathered at their “freedom park”.