President Joyce Banda is appealing for patience from the striking civil servants who have been staging a ‘stay-away’ since Monday demanding 67 percent salary increment and improved working conditions.
The strike started on a very dull note with some civil servants working but reached boiling point on Tuesday when irate strikers in the capital Lilongwe marched to government offices forcing some workers who had been working out of their offices.
However, negotiations to end the strike ended in deadlock on Thursday forcing the Civil Servant Trade Union leaders to declare the previously-planned two days strike is now an indefinite strike.
Meanwhile, nurses who had been working ‘on humanitarian grounds’ have given the government 14 days to respond to the salary increment demands saying failing which they say will join the strike.
But President Banda who spoke through her press secretary Steve Nhlane said the civil servants should return to work as their strike could paralyze government operations.
“The President feels it would be proper for the civil servants to continue with negotiations while their grievances are being looked into,” said Nhlane.
Public servants in the commercial capital Blantyre on Friday morning gathered outside the government buildings, joining their counterparts in the capital Lilongwe who started the strike on Monday.
In the 2012-2013 National Budget government put a 21 percent increment on civil servants salaries which they feel is nothing considering the recurrent price hikes of goods and services due to the devaluation and floatation of Malawi kwacha.