Just when the University of Malawi (Unima) management thought tranquillity had returned after effectively resolving the long-standing impasse with the academic staff of Chancellor College (Chanco), more trouble is brewing for them once again.
Members of the support staff have surfaced demanding management to implement their 40 percent salary increment request or they will down their tools.
The workers are meeting management today for an update on how much they have been offered as per their 40 percent salary hike demand they made last year.
The development comes barely days after Unima management announced the opening of Chancellor College, one of its constituent colleges, which has stayed closed for several months.
In an interview yesterday, Unima Workers Trade Union (UWTU) secretary general James Khando said workers are agitating for a sit-in after management failed to honour their request.
He explained that for four years now salaries for support and administrative staff have not been considered for adjustment yet other sectors like the academic staff have had their salaries reviewed.
Said Khando: “Workers are agitating for a sit-in if management and the council do not give a positive answer. These workers have stayed for four years without their salary increments.”
He explained that when their request was first made they understood government’s excuse that it was in financial dilemma due to the floods but they feel it now has money having agreed to adjust for academic staff.
“The unfortunate part is that government decided to call one sector [academic staff] to the meeting it had on salaries without considering the support and administrative staff.
“This is what surprised us. What government is trying to do now is to divide members of the same institution,” noted Khando.
Unima registrar Benedicto Malunga was not available for reaction but commenting on the issue Chanco Academic Staff Union (Ccasu) president Anthony Gunde said the issue must not be directly linked to the recent Unima impasse that led to Chanco closure.
He said the Chanco standoff was about salary disparities among equally graded academics in Unima colleges where clinically qualified staff were erroneously being paid 40 percent more than the rest.
“That is what led to the issue…. and it was resolved that there should be equal pay for equal work. I think what should be done for transparency is for the council and management to issue a communiqué to all relevant stakeholders on matters of salary increment.
“What is also required is proper and professional and not intimidating communication from Unima management like we have witnessed recently,” said Gunde. n