Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) says even though civil servants’ salaries have been adjusted from the initially proposed 24.4 percent to an average of 45 percent, it is not happy with the increment which has favoured top bosses.
After a long-drawn-out discussions over the pay raise, government has bowed down to pressure from TUM and the Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) and amended the initial percentage which Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe presented in Parliament.
But reacting to the increment in an interview yesterday, TUM general secretary Denis Kalekeni said teachers were disappointed because a majority of them have been offered the lowest percentage.
For instance, said Kalekeni, a primary school teacher at Grade L which in teaching service is called grade PT4 (entry point) has been given 35 percent with Grade K (PT3) getting 37 percent.
The offer is below the 52 and 70 percent which government has given to those on Grades J and I, respectively, according to a circular released on Tuesday and signed by the director of administration in the Department of Human Resource Management, Hilary Chimota.
But government announced in the circular that the development means that the lowest paid teacher will now be getting a gross monthly salary of K41 000.
Kalekeni said teachers under Grade L constitute more than half of the teaching population in Malawi and the increment does not mean anything to the teachers.
He said: “As TUM, we are disappointed with the distribution of the percentage because government has highly favoured the upper grade. It has sidelined and discriminated against majority of the teachers who, if we combine those on Grade L and K that have received the lowest, form more than 75 percent of the entire teaching service in the country.”
However, he said the union had somewhat been consoled with the fact that secondary school teachers have received a substantial increment with degree holders (Grade I) getting 70 percent and diploma holders in Grade J receiving 52 percent.
“This is pleasing because there has been a lot of brain drain in secondary schools and this will probably retain the teachers and motivate our newly graduate teachers,” he said.
According to the circular, the highest increment is on Grade A which has seen a 75 percent increase and its beneficiaries include the Chief Secretary and other heads of public service and their salaries have shot from K13 211 328 per annum to K23 012 700.
Speaking in an interview on Tuesday evening, CSTU secretary general Madalitso Njolomole described the increment as welcome, but quickly said the union has several reservations which he said it hopes will be addressed in subsequent talks.
“We can say we are happy because the average increase of 45 percent is above the 24 percent which was previously announced. However, we cannot say we are satisfied,” said Njolomole.
During the previous increment government raised the lowest paid civil servants salary by 65 percent.
In a circular announcing the pay hike, government announced that the lowest paid civil servants’ salary will jump from gross monthly salary of K12 000 to K41 000 representing a 35 percent increase.