The Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU), National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi (NONM) and the Medical Doctors Union of Malawi (MDUM) have given government a seven day ultimatum to resume talks on the welfare of the health workers in the country.
Among other things, the bodies wrote government to improve the salaries, risk allowances and housing of the health workers threatening to go on strike, a situation that will put further strain on the country’s crumbling public healthcare facilities.
“We have noted with great concern that nothing has been done to that effect. We look at this development as very unfortunate and a serious lack of commitment on the part of Government as an employer to resolve the issues that were raised.
“CSTU, NONM and MDUM would like to see these issues resolved amicably and with the desired urgency.” reads the letter signed by NONM Director Harriet Bwanali, Dr Judith Mkwaila Vice President MDUM and Madalitso Njolomole CSTU General Secretary.
Reads the letter: “We therefore request the officials assigned to work on the issue to convene a meeting with the relevant concerned stakeholders within seven (7) days from 5th January, 2015 preferably, 13th January, 2015 where these issues shall be resolved once and for all.”
Government and the health workers have been fighting for improved working conditions for sometime now which at some time have resulted into strikes.
The medical personnel are complaining that their salaries have been steadily eroded by the country’s galloping inflation rate and weakening buying power of local currency, Kwacha.
Government bars health workers and those from other essential services from striking but nurses have often defied the directive – when necessary.
Already, staff at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Lilongwe are serving a notice to withdraw labour if the employers will not address their grievances which include revising allowances and salaries.
Ministry of Health chief medical services director Charles Mwansambo said government would work on the issues.
Economic analysts have warned that Malawi is likely to see more strikes by dissatisfied workers grappling with an economic gloom with donor freeze.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :