With few days to go, the University of Malawi (Unima) Council and management are yet to reach an agreement with the Chancellor College academic staff who are demanding a 40 percent salary increment.
Since the Chancellor College Academic Staff Union (Ccasu) gave their employer, University Council, 21 days ultimatum to effect the increment or go on industrial action, the two parties have been discussing but to no avail.
Ccasu president Symon Chiziwa said in an interview yesterday after meeting the council chairperson they have not concluded their discussions on the matter because they are not satisfied with the offers being given.
He said: “There have been offers and counter-offers, but the matter has not yet been concluded. We are still discussing the way forward to see how much can be taken to the academic members of staff. We have just been meeting the chairperson today but no conclusion has been made.”
The Ccasu president said his union will be meeting membership to seek their approval on the offers that have been given.
However, Chiziwa could not reveal how much had been offered to them, but sources indicate that they were given 36 percent increment which they turned down.
Said Chiziwa: “There have been a number of offers on the table apart from the 36 percent, but if we disclose them, we may compromise the integrity of our negotiations. The 36 percent is totally unofficial, we have differences in the modalities of implementation that is why we want to seek consensus from the membership because when we tabulate, it becomes 25 percent.”
Ccasu members held an emergency meeting on December 9 2014 where they maintained the 40 percent salary increase demand as an interim relief measure in view of the increasing cost of living.
And in its letter sent to the University Council dated December 11, 2014, Ccasu said it expects the Council in consultation with relevant stakeholders to, in the medium term, devise a mechanism that ensures that conditions of service and salaries (in particular) of academic members of staff are comparable to peers in the region and do not erode owing to devaluation and inflationary pressures.
Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe is on record as having said that government has no money to meet the numerous pay hike demands from public service employees.
When government bowed down to pressure from civil servants in the mainstream, the wage bill and national budget was bloated by K10 billion (US$19 417 476). Currently, there are pay hike demands from the Judiciary support staff, Parliament secretariat staff, the Anti-Corruption Bureau, among others.