Malawi (TUM) says it will proceed with a nationwide demonstration involving public primary and secondary school teachers following government’s failure to pay them salary arrears estimated at K1.7 billion.
In a statement TUM issued yesterday co-signed by its president Willie Malimba and general secretary Charles Kumchenga said the teachers will proceed on the nationwide strike from Monday next week.
Reads the statement: “Teachers Union of Malawi wishes to confirm to you that the national wide strike for teachers which was already communicated to is starting on 9th July 2018. The final decision was made during the national TUM gathering held on 30th June 2018 in Lilongwe, a meeting which was attended by district leaders, divisional leaders and national executive committee members.
“Teachers Union of Malawi has learnt with disappointment that government has failed to solve teachers’ grievances which include: salary arrears, promotion of teachers and salary increment for teachers. We must also bring to your attention that this strike which shall be in a form of sit-in shall be called off by TUM once government sort out teachers’ grievances and find long lasting solution to the problem.”
In an interview yesterday, Kumchenga said the union has communicated to all teachers in the country.
He said: “We are not turning back because government has failed to resolve teachers’ grievances peacefully. Every teacher in government schools, both primary and secondary, has been communicated to.”
Kumchenga said to date only teachers in Lilongwe Urban, Thyolo and Likoma district councils have received their arrears.
The strike follows a June 1 letter TUM wrote to the Chief Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) to intervene and resolve the salary and leave grants issue amicably or risk a nationwide strike.
On June 18, TUM also wrote Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) and Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development expressing dissatisfaction with lack of progress on the issue.
Last week, Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development spokesperson Muhlabase Mughogho told The Nation that councils received instruction from the Treasury in May to re-work their submissions to facilitate the processing of the arrears which were accrued due to delays in insertion of payroll, omission because of headcount and promotion of teachers.
Last year, teachers who constitute almost half of the 130 000 civil service workforce, staged a nationwide strike that paralysed learning in both primary and secondary schools after government delayed to pay them leave grants for 2016/17 financial year.