Members of Parliament passed the 2014-2015 budget which carries a 24 percent average wage increment for civil servants but the public service trade unions have rejected that increase demanding more than that, paving the way for possible industrial action.
Ministry of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Nations Msowoya said what the government offered is what it could afford and that there will be no further increase.
“What the minister presented in Parliament is what the treasury could afford to release and it was difficult to increase the allocation because of the prevailing economic constraints. Availability of funds determined the allocation and 24 percent is what was considered as the best offer.
“However, the ministry is still waiting for the resolution from the [Government] Negotiating Unit to know the way forward,” Msowoya said.
CSTU President Servace Sakala told a local daily that the negotiations between government officials and the union leadership are still underway with the hope that government will use some money within the approved budget to beef up the wage bill.
“Basically the money which would be used to increase our salaries with more than 24 percent is within the same budget. We know it is possible for the government to take money from somewhere within the same approved budget,” Sakala said as quoted by Daily Times.
Government Negotiating Team leader Ben Botolo hsaid if government were to accept the counter-offer, the Malawi economy would collapse.
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.
But Unison sources said strike is one of a range of possible options they will be considering following the decisive rejection of the 24% pay rise.