Airport firefighters on sit-in strike as Malawi Airlines passengers  stranded  with flight cancellation

After the expiry of their third extension of the deadline to have their grievances resolved, which expired on April 1, Malawi’s junior-ranked airport firefighters have gone on a go-slow mode that has forced senior officers to take over operations from 6am to 7pm.

Things now working in Malawi

The aviation firefighters from all airports in the country petitioned the office of the Director of Civil Aviation on February 18 demanding that the entry point of service assistants (Grade M) be abolished and create Grade K as their entry point.

In their first petition on February 18, the firefighters had threatened not to allow any aircraft to land or take off from all airports in the country but when the deadline of days notice expired on March 11, they extended it to 14 days — that also expired on March 25.

The third extension was issued on March 26 that expired on April 1, forcing the fire fighting service assistants to go slow.

A source from Kamuzu International Airport said government had indicated to respond on Tuesday, April 6 but as at the end of business had not done so — “claiming the Director of Civil Aviation [James Chakwera] had not been in his office the whole day”.

“They are saying they will come back to us tomorrow but the go slow continues — no junior officer is working on any acting post,” said the source.

“The go slow has greatly affected all airports. As of now fire bosses have been forced to start operating from 6am to 7pm. Normally this is done by junior officers.”

He added that the go slow is compromising the safety of the airports since there are many gaps that have been created since all Grade M officer are refusing to work on any acting positions.

The firefighters disclosed that they have been serving at junior level Grade M for many years without been promoted — with some serving on the entry grade for as long as 10 years and others as long as 15 to 20 years.

Their petition says currently about 76 firefighters are competing for 22 posts and that those who will be left out in the promotion interviews need to wait until some fighters die, retire or resign to create new space for promotions.

Thus they ask the government to abolish grade M & L and make grade K as their entry point.

An inside source had said in February that the government policy only specifies that if one has served on one grade for 4 years or more, they are supposed to be considered for the next grade only if a vacancy exists and they have passed interviews.

“If there is no person that has qualified to go for interviews, the office may write a letter asking for a waiver,” the source had said, adding that the entry grade is a diploma level but many government departments write a waiver to promote long serving deserving officers.

“An example is that of the prison warders, who start with grade M, but as you are aware they were all promoted to grade K after their sit-in last year.

“Like all civil servants, we receive annual salary increment — cost of living adjustment — but automatically it stops after 6 years upon reaching level 7; like grade M.

“We call it M7 which is final — you don’t get any more increment and we are not entitled to any other benefits,” the source had said.

Meanwhile,  about 118 Malawi Airlines passengers who were scheduled to leave for Johannesburg, South Africa Wednesday morning were stranded at KIA following a failure by a scheduled flight, Boeing 737-700 to show up at the airport.

The flight was scheduled to depart for Johannesburg at 8:20 am.

The flight was suspended from operations between March 26 and March 31, 2021, before the company extended the suspension to April 6, 2021, due to what it called a “prolonged mandatory maintenance” in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Malawi Airlines spokesperson Joseph Josiah said  the company regrets the last-minute cancellation of the flight and  sincere apologises to all its valued customers for the inconvenience caused.

Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :
0 0 votes
Article Rating

Sharing is caring!

Follow us in Twitter
12 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chokwadu
Chokwadu
13 days ago

Somebody is sleeping on duty. Education is down and now airlines. These people they dont see the need because they are busy enricing themselves Chiponda kandondo after stealing the independence celebration money she is now stealing covid money. Geden kalumbu after raping a minor and stealing from Malawi College f accountancy is now busy stealing from state house helped by Kapondangaga who stole from farmers union and lately crossroads hotel

Freedom of speech and association
Freedom of speech and association
14 days ago

Why is everyone missing deadlines? These are having nice time with expiring petition deadlines at the same time that a certain cabinet-hiring-within-48 hrs also expired with ease… Ok, but the junior staff threat to disallow landings and take-offs was huge (you will find some ring leader is watching too many American movies) Is it bad reporting or not that makes it look like abnormal to wait for a vacancy to be promoted, and such a vacancy would happen upon a retirement, death, resignation or firing. So among many who want the top spot, some will never be promoted to that… Read more »

Last edited 14 days ago by Freedom of speech and association
Maziko
Maziko
14 days ago

The president usually charters Malawi airlines’ one and only functional aeroplane for his external travels. I wouldn’t be surprised if the flights have been cancelled because the beloved plane is in Mozambique, Its not the first time such has happened and flights cancelled.

Unless the president reduces external travel, expect more cancellations by Malawi airlines. Why don’t you book ET or Kenya?

Anzanufe
Anzanufe
14 days ago

Problems all over the country. Sign of catastrophe to come.

Political commentator
14 days ago
Reply to  Anzanufe

DPP was there, they did not promote them – your agogo left us in real
problems

Freedom of speech and association
Freedom of speech and association
14 days ago

Cliche of ‘previous govt stole all the money’ was invented by Bakili to use non-speaking previous regime as a scapegoat for incumbent failures. This one by the ‘Political commentator’ is a version of such unpopular phrases

Yeremia
Yeremia
13 days ago

Kwamtere could have promoted them a week in office if he wanted.

Chokwadu
Chokwadu
13 days ago
Reply to  Yeremia

He only promoted his brother

Mangochi Kabwafu
Mangochi Kabwafu
14 days ago
Reply to  Anzanufe

These are not todays problems. It’s all as a result of nkhalambas incompetence and mismanagement.

hardy
hardy
14 days ago

They clearly are today’s problems. 2021

Freedom of speech and association
Freedom of speech and association
13 days ago

If that’s the case, blame Hastings Banda for plunging Malawi into a dependent economy for decades up to his ousting until a Bingu challenged that we can, though painfully, take a go at self reliant economy. Will you accept that or you do not like it deep enough?

nafundo zalo
nafundo zalo
13 days ago

koma ndipo nkale lose muboma la dpp sinnavepo this strike kind. siinu anthu munalembedea ncito mma 80’s nde muufuna kupha waleloyu kumupaka nsizi. koma wina nfiumbuli. abwana sanapezeke mu ofesi .ali koendera minda kaye. ndipo mukufuna promotion nu kukhala ena mukanacita retire. hw old are you now???? mwinaso ndi std 6 mulipo. mufa ndi Bp cikakugledani ci paymaster zinazi osamangolowera nao. kuli anthu amili.bili akufuna ncito ku malawi kuno. dzulo munali busy kudya kumwetrra kuombela mmanja pitala. atamamga cithando ku KIA ati new lounge hammmmmmayo. ngati OPD. Kodi bwanji tima building ngati taasodzi mmbali mwanji. this place KIA is not… Read more »

shares
Read previous post:
Mzuzu court convicts Indian for calling HRDC official ‘dog’

The Senior magistrate court in Mzuzu has convicted a 32-year-old Indian national, Anand Mandivar,  for insulting Human Rights Defenders Coalition(HRDC)...

Close