Malawi government has said it has already started addressing demands by the Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) on revising upwards salaries and improving their working conditions.
The government said in a statement issued on Saturday following threats by the civil servants to on a two day strike from Monday February 11 to 12 over unmet welfare demands and the failure of the Government’s Negotiating Team (GNT) to provide a tangible offer during a meeting between representatives of the two groups.
President of CSTU Eliah Kamphinda-Banda said they failed to reach an agreement with the GNT during the meeting, which was also attended by the National Organisation of Nurses (Nonm).
But in a statement made available to Nyasa Times, GNT said it only received the demands of the CSTU on Monday, 4th February and at its meeting on Thursday, 6th February, the GNT resolved to institute a Task Force comprising members from the two sides to, among other things, quantify the demands and advise Government on how best to address them.
“The Task Force will also determine the percentage by which Government can raise salaries of civil servants, in view of the limited resources,” reads the statement.
The statement further said government has already started addressing some of the demands by the Trade Unions within the CSTU.
“For instance, the Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) has been complaining about promotions for teachers and Government has responded by directing the promotion of 11,000 teachers.
“Secondly, the National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives (NOMN) asked Government to purchase drugs for public hospitals and Government has provided K1.1 billion for that purpose,” said the statement.
Government said it has already started addressing the issue of civil servants’ salaries by increasing salaries for lowest paid civil servants by 46 per cent and the highest paid by 21 per cent in the current financial year.
Reads the statement in part: “Government wishes to note that some of the demands by the CSTU have a bearing on the Economic Recovery Plan (ERP) which Government is implementing, hence the need for a thorough and honest discussion by the two parties to reach a mutual agreement.”
Government said the channels of communication have not been exhausted, “hence the call for a strike is un-procedural.”
The statement further said government is still committed in negotiations with CSTU on various issues including the issue of civil servants’ salaries until a mutual agreement is arrived at.
Last month, citizens gathered to protest against over the escalated cost of living in the country, which has been suffering under economic hardships.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :