The Peoples Party-led Government has found a way to find a way of reining in the runaway strikers. Pun intended.
It will soon convene an all-inclusive indaba in the hope of finding solutions to the now pandemic of industrial strikes in the public and private sectors and university colleges.
According to Malawi’s Labour Minister Eunice Makangala in an interview with one of the local dailies, stakeholders will include officials from the Ministries of Finance, Water and the Comptroller of Statutory Corporations, the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU).
This is coming against a background of a desperate situation on the labour front coupled with insecurity in a macro-economic environment where the Malawi Kwacha is more or less in a free fall. All these – reliable labour force, security and a predictable foreign exchange regime – are vital for development and economic growth.
While the government has some success to show on negotiating with strikers e.g. Blantyre Water Board employees who have picked up spanners and bolts again after being pacified with a 25% wage increase; there is little hope on the Malawi Kwacha free-fall and the insecurity.
University lecturers are demanding nothing less than 113% while Blantyre City Council (BCC) employees who have downed tools and blocked some roads are demanding a 150 percent salary hike.
None other than President Joyce Banda engaged the Chancellor College Academic Staff Union (Ccasu) and the Polytechnic Academic Staff Committee on Welfare (Pascow) in crisis talks in an effort to convince the lecturers to stop pick up chalk again.
Any hope for optimism?
According to Presidential press secretary Steve Nhlane, the President was very optimistic that the threats for industrial action in the university would soon end with those discussions and that the two parties reached an amicable conclusion on the way forward.
Huge cost and counting: The cost of the industrial actions – yet to be ascertained – is a huge minus on President Banda’s much touted efforts to revive the economy. The free for all for criminals, whose boldness is now assuming the proportions of particularly bad villains from action movies, is worrisome.
Who will take responsibility this time around?
Now who should in all fairness shoulder the blame for the failure of donor promises to turn into immediate dollars, and cushion the effects devaluation?
Who was it that was brandishing donor promises as trophies under the illusion that donors can be fooled with cosmetic change and why are we where we are at?
Stand by for Wise One from the East, as he glosses over this orange mess, and speaks a piece of his mind, calling a spade by its name, and calling for a radical paradigm shift: from business as usual to business unusual.
*Source: MarapostFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :