A constituent college of the University of Malawi, Chancellor College (Chanco) in the eastern city of Zomba has been abruptly closed due to strike academic and support staff.
Support staff at Chanco are withdrawing labour to force government to increase their perks. Unima support staff, through the University Workers Trade Union (UWTU), are demanding not less than 45 percent salary hike .
Unima lecturers are set to join the industrial action as they are serving 21-day notice.
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.