Employees of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) have started withdrawing their labour demanding the government to raise their salaries to an average of 70 percent in line with their conditions of service .
“What the workers are asking for is not anything out of this world,” commented one of the striking workers.
The workers claim their employers—ACB and government—have breached contract by failing to enforce what is stipulated in the ACB Staff Terms and Conditions of Service.
Article 01.09.2 of ACB’s Staff Terms and Conditions of Service provides that their salaries shall be revised by the bureau any time there is (a) a raise in the civil service salaries and (b) an increase in the cost of living, according to the employees.
Further to that, Article 01.09.3 provides that in the case of devaluation, the salaries will be adjusted to maintain their current value and in the case of a raise of salaries in the civil service, the bureau’s salaries will be adjusted to a percentage more than the civil service rate to keep them competitive.
However, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Goodall Gondwe categorically said that Treasury would not implement the salary increment requests because that would defeat the purpose of harmonisation of salaries in the civil service, which government is working on.
Gondwe said government was concerned that the ACB workers went on strike “without exhausting the existing mechanisms for dialogue”.
He said the government “remains committed” to improving the working conditions of all its workers within the provisions of the available fiscal space.
Already, government is grappling with the ongoing Judiciary support staff strike, which has now gone into the fifth week while employees of the National Food Reserve Agency (NFRA) are also on strike demanding a salary hike.
The Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) and Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU) have also warned that should government go ahead with the salary increments, the union will also ask its members to down tools.
Meanwhile, ACB czar Lucas Kondowe has complained that the low funding of MK1.4 billion it received from the national budget is not enough to run investigations in the Cashgate scandal.
Kondowe told journalists on Sunday that the graft busting body only received MK1.4 billion from the 2014/15 Zero Aid Budget instead of the required MK3.6 Billion.
He argued that the investigations which are not only to do with the Cashgate require more resources and that the money the body received was below par with the needed sum.
This means ACB has a MK2.2 billion shortage.
“The funding is disturbing our effectiveness in the investigations. We needed MK 3.6 Billion and the MK1.4 we got to use in the fiscal year is too little from the investigations we are working on in the Cashgate and others,” he said.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :