It has emerged that before embarking on their industrial action to force government to raise their pay, all striking workers at Parliament collected two-week allowances to provide a service which the strike has disrupted.
Nyasa Times understand that the allowances were meant to pay them for providing service relating to the Mid Term Budget Review sitting on the National Assembly.
An official in the Parliament’s Finance Department who refused to be named because he is not authorized to speak on such matters to the media has disclosed this.
The sitting has since been suspended until the strike comes to an end.
“It is true they collected the allowances of two weeks,” said the Parliament’s finance official. “It is standard practice that during sittings of the National Assembly allowances are paid in batches of two weeks.”
The official said the allowances were paid without realizing that once they receive them the staffers would not report for the work they were paid for.
“We paid them unsuspectingly,” he said.
He could not tell how much each one of them had received and the total amount of money that got spend on them, saying the figures could not be mentioned off hand.
“But it is a substantial amount of money,” he said.
Clerk of Parliament Roosevelt Gondwe was not immediately available to comment on the matter.
Government spokesman Kondwani Nankhumwa said he had heard about the matter loosely.
“I don’t have the facts. The authorities at Parliament are better placed to comment with facts,” he said.
He however said that the standard practice is that any money that a person receives without doing what he has been paid for must be refunded.
“If it turns out to be true that the allowances in question were indeed paid but the service was not rendered because the sitting (of the National Assembly) where the service would have been provided has been disrupted, my considered opinion is that the authorities at Parliament will find the payment irregular and will therefore make sure the money is recovered,” said Nankhumwa.
The support staff are demanding a salary hike of 24 percent to their salaries which were already raised by 5 percent in October last year.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :