Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) has shifted its nationwide strike to June 30 2016 to give government ample time to resolve teachers’ grievances as spelt in their April 14 2016 petition.
Teachers were due to go on a nationwide sit-in from May 9 2016 to force government to resolve their grievances which include the unprocedural withdrawal of teachers’ promotions by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST), failure to adjust salaries of teachers who had been promoted or upgraded themselves.
The other contentious issues were failure by the ministry to pay leave grants to secondary school teachers for the 2015/16 financial year expiring on June 30 and delayed payment of salary arrears for primary school teachers.
TUM was further angered by government’s decision to demand that promoted teachers should move to rural-based schools using personal finances, adding that those who failed to comply would have their promotions withdrawn.
“We felt this is taking teachers for granted because it is the duty of the ministry to facilitate movement of teachers,” said TUM president Chauluka Muwake.
In his speech at this year’s International Labour Day celebrations at Masintha Ground in Lilongwe, President Peter Mutharika assured that he would send Chief Secretary to the Government George Mkondiwa and the line minister Emmanuel Fabiano to meet the union leadership over the grievances.
Muwake on Wednesday told The Nation that following a crisis meeting that took place last week, TUM leadership had resolved to suspend the sit-in to allow government address their grievances.
He explained: “We arrived at this decision following a meeting we had this morning with officials from the ministry. They have assured us that they will have addressed our grievances by June 30 2016; hence, this pause.”
Muwake warned that teachers will not hesitate to down tools should government fail to meet their expectations by June 30 2016.
TUM secretary general Denis Kalekeni on Wednesday said government has started addressing their concerns, but that it was too early to call off the strike. n