University of Malawi Workers Union have threatened to strike, demanding pay rise.
Unima support staff, through the University Workers Trade Union (UWTU), are demanding not less than 45 percent or up to 75 percent salary increment the 25 percent being offered by the government.
It is also understood that academic members of staff will embark on industrial action demanding better salaries and working conditions.
The issues go back to four years ago when the UNIMA Council endorsed a report by Enerst and Young who recommended that staff salaries in the university should be adjusted by 200% to bring them closer to what prevails in other similar institutions in the region and to take care of a revised salary structure.
The staff got only 60% with the promise that the remaining 40% would be implemented incrementally in due course.
The academic freedom saga that lasted 8 months in 2011 overshadowed the salary issues but the recent massive devaluation of the kwacha and the attendant high cost of living has rekindled it.
The university staff want salary adjustment following the general increases awarded to the civil service and other institutions.
More chaos in the academic calendar is expected, unless the salary issues are timely resolved.
The labour dispute has rocked several institutions in the country of late with staff at Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) have given the government a seven-day ultimatum to review their working conditions or risk an indefinite strike like the current Judiciary strike which has shut down the courts in the country.
ACB employees are unhappy about an alleged breach of contract by the bureau’s director general in enforcing the terms and conditions of service.
“As a dispute of right, our preference was to go to court for litigation but since the courts are almost non-functional, we have no choice but to commence a strike as a way of enforcing our right under the contract,” the notice said.
ACB employees’ contracts provide that their salaries shall be revised by the bureau any time there is a raise in the remuneration of civil service and an increase in the cost of living.
Meanwhile, Malawi Congress for Trade Union (MCTU) said it expects President Peter Mutharika to come up with measures to end the labour dispute that has rocked several institutions in the country.
MCTU President Chauluka Muwake said the Head of State should show statesmanship and leadership in coming out with measures to end the disputes through peaceful means and collective bargaining.
“The government should meet with leaders of the institutions over the labour dispute to seek resolution of the matter immediately,” he said.
He said Malawi cannot afford to stay without operations of institutions like the courts, universities and the Anti-Corruption Bureau among others.
Muwake therefore appealed to all trade unions in the country to preserve the culture of unionism and support the bargaining process of fellow workers in their quest for social justice.
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :