Education rights activist Limbani Nsapato has commended both government and Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) for signing a consent order that teachers should resume work from today and settle the dispute out of court, to pave way for negotiations.
The public-school teachers resumed their nation-wide strike last week after the government did not honor a promise to pay bonuses for their risk of contracting the coronavirus while on the job.
TUM and Ministry of Education earlier agreed that government should stop providing teachers with personal protective equipment (PP) and instead give teachers money to buy PPE to protect themselves working in packed classrooms during the pandemic .
Government opened the case against TUM at the Industrial Relations Court Lilongwe over their continued strike.
But the consent order which the two partie signed calls for negotiations first before court battles.
“We agreed that teachers should resume work and case be postponed to allow dialogue,” said TUM’s lawyer Madalitso Kausi.
President of TUM, Willy Malimba, called on teachers to return to work, saying he was hopeful next round of negotiation will yield positive outcome
Commenting on the development, education activist Nsapato commended TUM and government for agreeing to settle the dispute out of court, to pave way for negotiations.
“ I hope that both parties will be more serious and not resort to hide and seek comedy we have seen over the past month.
“Negotiations should lead to more trust and confidence between employer and employee and not end in cat and mouse chase in court,” said Nsapato.
He added: “ Let’s remember that we need to have a conducive teaching and learning environment in our schools to ensure access to quality education for learners; and this year three sets of exams are to be written -PSLCE, JCE, and MSCE, and we cant afford to entertain more strikes because government and TUM are failing to negotiate and come to a win-win agreement. When two elephants fight, it’s grass that suffers.”
Malawi government spokesperson Gospel Kazako said the Tonse-Alliance administration is keen to sort teachers welfare in a whole – salaries, condition of service and their housing allowance.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :