‘Occupy Parliament’: Malawi civil servants to push for remuneration bill

Representatives of civil servants unions in Malawi have agreed to march to Parliament on Thursday to present a petition to the Speaker which seeks to push the lawmakers to debate and pass the Public Service Remuneration bill.

The public servants believe the bill which they say will pave way for the establishment of public service remuneration board, an independent body that will be looking into issues of salary increment of all civil servants in the country.

General Secretary of Teachers Union Dennis Kalekeni told reporters during a news conference on Monday night at Crossroads hotel in the capital Lilongwe that the absence of the remuneration board is forcing issues of salary increments to be done in haphazard manner with no clear procedures.

“For example the judiciary, parliament, cabinet and human rights commission all these make their own proposals in terms of remuneration while we the civil servants have to kneel down to seek for salary increment and this is a challenge,” he said.demo poster

Kalekeni said it is unfortunate that such a proposal is coming from unions, saying this is the only method that can assist the government to move on very smoothly when it comes to packages on public sectors.

He alleged that the current scenario only benefit those in top positions.

“Let me tell you one scenario. For instance, in the statutory corporations which form part of government and their salaries which come from the same tax payers, we have chief executives there, some of them from institutions that don’t even make a profit at all. But the CEOs there would get as high as K1.3 million per month. Yet the Chief Secretary to the government to who all these people report is getting a meager salary .What type of scenario is this? And everybody there in the government is watching these things happening,” said Kalekeni.

Kalekeni said whether this is simply because some of the Chief Executive Officers are political appointees , he said the fact of matter  is that they are drawing their salaries of the taxpayers money.

“So as unions were are demanding that whilst we are struggling with government on salary packages, the government should embark of mechanisms of putting in place a remuneration board, a neutral body that would be looking into issues of remunerations of parliament, cabinet and others so that we should have a fair deal,”  said Kalekeni.

He said should parliament fail to pass the bill during the current sitting, the servants will not backtrack in demanding what they deserve.

“We cannot have people getting millions in the civil service and others getting peanuts like K20, 000 per month that is uncalled for. So if the government doesn’t comply let’s move on and we will be struggling as we move,” he said.

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