Civil servants in Malawi have threatened to go on nationwide strike if Mutharika government fails to award them a percent pay rise.
The public servants, through their Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU), have given Capital Hill a seven day ultimatum to revise their salaries to be consistent with the poverty datum line or face ‘winter of discontent.’
The ultimatum comes after a meeting between government and CSTU yielded nothing with government insisting that the civil servants should wait until July when new national budget will have been put in place.
But CSTU president Eliah Kamphinda Banda said his union has also insisted that government should act on the salaries immediately or face a national wide strike because July is far.
“Salaries for civil servants are very low as compared to the high prices. We give government seven days ultimatum to revise the salaries to match with the high cost of living,” said Kamphinda.
He was also quoted on MIJ Radio giving the seven day ultimatum.
Prices of almost all commodities have risen in Malawi. A packet of sugar which was going at K210. 00 is now fetching at K500 in some shops in the rural side. One litre of cooking oil which was at about K500 is now at K1 800.
Workers have also criticised the disparity between salaries earned by senior officials and those at lower levels of government.
The lowest paid civil servant is said to earn just about K15 000 per month.
Efforts by Nyasa Times get hold of the head of the civil service, Secretary to President and Cabinet Bright Msaka, for comment on the threat of strike action were fruitless.