MCTU, CAMA back Malawi strike: Tells PP govt to act in good faith

Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) has condemned government for creating confusion in resolving the on-going industrial action by civil servants, saying its actions are not done in ‘good faith’ and has since called upon all its affiliates to support the strike.

Meanwhile, Consumer Associations of Malawi (Cama) has also thrown its weight behind the current sit-in which has gradually build up into full-scale protests with teachers, nurses, airports, civil aviation and meteorological departments joining in.

In a statement MCTU asked all its 23 affiliates and other trade unions to offer ‘appropriate solidarity to CSTU and Nurses and Midwives of Malawi (NONM) if government does not show any seriousness and commitment to resolve the labour dispute on wage increase affected y unaffordable price hikes of basic goods”.

MCTU through the statement signed by its vice president, Ronald Mbewe and deputy secretary general, Grace Nyirenda, argues that the current strike will only come to an end if government would agree to earnest and serious negotiations that would be concluded with positive results within reasonable time.

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Kabwila: The President should proactively respond to the challenges forcing civil servants to stage a strike.

“Unfortunately after the preliminary meeting between Government Negotiating Team (GNT) and the CSTU, the leader of GNT unilaterally falsely wrote and published in a press release calling off the CSTU impending strike that was scheduled to take place between 11th and 12th February 2013.

“This GNT action was not done in good faith but intended to bring confusion among the CSTU members. We condemn government for this statement caused by bad faith. We however call upon government to choose or appoint credible and committed senior civil servants that would be able to steer serious negotiations with CSTU to end the labour dispute or deadlock in good faith and with positive results”.

Cama support

And following the failure by government to listen to some of points Cama raised in its January 17 petition has forced the consumer watch-dog to support the current civil servants’ strike while considering next move.

In an interview Cama’s official, Dr Jessie Kabwila backed the civil servants for staging the strike in demand for pay rise, arguing ‘they are consumers too’.

“We are also happy to note that civil servants have started their strikes as one way of forcing government to adjust their salaries and we are appealing to all workers in Malawi to join their fellow workers in these protests and strikes since the Government has decided to ignore to address some of these issues peacefully,” Kabwila said.

She added: “People are suffering and this government seems not to care. Civil servants are consumers too, and are affected by the rising cost of living due to poor policies of this government”.

In its January 17 petition, Cama highlighted the issue of salary adjustment as one of its main points in view of the prevailing economic hardships and ever increasing cost of living, however, government has said currently it is not ready to adjust employees’ salaries until the economic reforms have started bearing fruit regardless of the economic impacts.

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