Civil servants reject 24% pay rise in Malawi zero-aid budget

Malawi public service trade unions have rejected a 24 percent salary pay offer for civil servants, paving the way for possible industrial action.

“The recurrent budget includes an amount of K163.3 billion for wages and salaries. This is 24.4 percent higher than last financial year’s provision for wages and salaries. Honourable members will, therefore, note that this year’s average wage increase is proposed to be 24.4 percent,” Minister of Finance, Goodall Gondwe disclosed in the zero-aid budget statement delivered Tuesday in parliament.

The proposed salary increment is expected to increase the government’s wage bill to K163 billion.

Kalekeni:  24% is unacceptable
Kalekeni: 24% is unacceptable

But Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) and Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) have dismissed the pay proposal; saying does not reflect their discussions with the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) ahead of the budget.

TUM secretary general Denis Kalekeni has clearly stated that they reject the 24 percent pay hike as manifestly inadequate compared to the current cost of living.

Kalekeni said government’s proposed salary increment “is unacceptable” and that they gave government a counter-offer way above 24%.

GNT’s Ben Botolo however said if government were to accept the counter-offer, the Malawi economy would collapse.

CSTU president Service Sakala said civil servant should be “cushioned from high inflation.”

According to Centre for Social Concern, the basic needs basket for a family of four ranges between K113 000 and K130 000 per month. However, the lowest paid civil servant receives less than K55 000 monthly.

The unions will meet later in the week to decide their next move.

But Unison sources said strike is one of a range of possible options they will be considering following the decisive rejection of the offer.

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