CSTU snub Malawi govt calls to halt civil servants strike

Leaders of the Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) have strongly snubbed calls from Malawi government authorities persuading them to withdraw their plans of holding a sit in strike mid February.

The CSTU President, Elia Kamphinda Banda said the strike is largely aimed to push the government to increase the workers’ salaries and improve working condition.

He argued that the industrial action is the last resort in their long time desperate attempt to raise the issue with the government, which he claimed, had been paying a deaf ear to their demands.

However the government through its spokesperson Moses Kunkuyu is asking the CSTU leaders to rescind their decision inviting them to a negotiation table on the matter but Banda has vehemently refused to back down.

Kamphinda: No more lip service, sort out the civil servants on pay hike
Kamphinda: No more lip service, sort out the civil servants on pay hike

“We have waited for more than enough and we think it’s time they should stop talking but we need action and at the moment there is literally nothing we can do if it is just a word of mouth,” said Kamphinda BandaAmong the civil servants who have vowed to join the CSTU-championed strike are the medical workers, a development which Kunkuyu fear will paralyze hospital operations in the country.

But Kamphinda said the involvement of the nurses in the strike will not be different from the situation is the country’s hospitals where many people are still dying because of lack of drugs.

“What people should know is that already Malawians are suffering. There are many people dying because of lack of drugs so it’s high time Malawians should support us and join the strike to ensure that things improve especially conditions of service which are in a bad state,” he said.

However, Kunkuyu said though government agrees that there is  indeed great need for increasing the salaries for the civil servants, the sit in will not be the right way to go about the issue.

“We want to engage them so that we can have dialogue with them. Because if we look at the medical personnel going on strike, it will affect the heath sector greatly because we are already experiencing shortage of drugs in some places so we are only relying on the expertise of the people that are working. So if they will stop working, it will affect the patients greatly,” said Kunkuyu.

Nkukuyu is strongly appealing to the CSTU leaders to rescind the decision and hold discussions with government to find other means of mapping the way forward.

But Kamphinda maintains the civil servants are tired of waiting for discussions with government because it has been keeping them waiting in vain for the negotiations in the past and the time of talking is over now.

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