Malawi hit hard by airport strike: Cannot receive Covid-19 materials

Malawi government has come under intense pressure and pressed a panic button following the industrial action by the airport staff workers as a way of forcing the government to address their concerns raised in a petition presented some months ago.

Staff on sit in

The last time the staff members presented their petition, government agreed that it will implement the changes.

The staff members are among other things demanding promotions, risk allowances, revision of duty allowances among others.

Nyasa Times investigations can reveal that cargo planes including those meant to bring in Covid-19 materials including testing kits have been cancelled since the sit in started Monday this week.

“Emirates flight today [Friday] flies to Mozambique, Uganda and Malawi. Today it failed to bring in covid materials,” one of the airport staff worker told Nyasa Times on Friday.

“This forced Dr. Charles Mwansambo who is the Director of Health Services in the Ministry of Health and presidential task force on Covid-19  to call for dialogue with us on Monday,” he added.

In an interview with a local radio, Mwansambo admitted that Blantyre and many parts of the country had run out of Covid-19 testing kits.

The continued  sit-in has forced government to plead the workers to call off the sit in and return to work immediately.

According  to a statement from the Office of the President and Cabinet ( OPC) signed by Cliff  Chiunda for the Chief Secretary to the government and seen by  Nyasa Times, claims that government has already  started  working on the workers  concerns.

“I wish to assure you that all the concerns that were raised in your letter are being considered  by the relevant government department’s and I have also noted that indeed some of the issues have already  been addressed,” reads part of the statement.

The statement further states that meetings between government officials and representatives of concerned workers will start meeting from Monday 21st July, 2020 to discuss further the outstanding issues.

“That meeting and anyway subsequent ones that will follow will thoroughly consider all the outstanding matters and come up with specific timeline in resolving them” the statement  reads.

In conclusion, Chiunda in the statement said: “Meanwhile it will be my expectation that you will ave confidence in my assurances to resolve all concerns and therefore call off the industrial action at the airports and return to work immediately.”

The staff members however have stick to their guns and maintains they will not go back to work until their grievances are addressed.

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Chikoti
Chikoti
7 months ago

Government si political party…zomwe anaalonjeza zili mmabuju a government osati dpp party or mcp party or tonse..so government despite which party in power mist do the needful..apatsidwe as agreed..simple.sizolodzanapo.zala apa..Malawi owala.wa.tonse pajatu tisaiwale..ndiye.nawo akufuna Malawi.owala wokomera aliyense..

Humphreys H.M. Ngoma
Humphreys H.M. Ngoma
7 months ago

This is completely nonsense. If DPP had stolen the funds, this govt would have already arrested the people concerned. The covid19 funds were not coming direct to govt, they were coming through UNICEF. So, stop talking rubbish against DPP for your own failure. You encouraged strikes deal with them and save the lives of Malawians from covid19. Stop giving lame excuses. You gave birth to demos and strikes against Mutharika, you nurtured them with your slogan “osaopa”. Here you are face your children and resolve them.

Malawi walero
Malawi walero
7 months ago

Zitukwanani mesa omwe amachola ku south afrika dziko lawo ndi la Makawi nde mmafuna apite kuti? Agalu inuu

J G Simpsons
J G Simpsons
7 months ago

The Airport Staff had given there Demands 3 to 4 Months before to DPP but it was NOT sorted out and Airports were shut down for Passenger Flights and Cargo Flights were kept operating but Airport Staff was still working Despite there Demands were NOT fulfilled Malawi is Already Making Losses due to closure of Passenger Flights and Related Industries such as Hotel and Restaurant and Tours and Travel and receipts of FOREX from Tourists Arrival and other Business are also effected Malawian Airlines is Already demanding Govt of Malawi for Kwacha 900+ Million for Survival and Payment of Salaries… Read more »

Political commentator
7 months ago

Foolish DPP gvt stole all the covid funds meant to buy materials – we would have enough in stock but foolish DPP greedy goats ate all the money yet akulira lero lino tikawamanga…….inutu mubweza dorazo zonsezo

Duda
Duda
7 months ago

Bodzatu inu. Most of COVID funds were pledged. Don’t absorb MCP lies about DPP stealing – they are being made to discredit DPP but also divert your attention from key promises Chakwera made during the campaign. You are busy talking about FAKE looting stories instead of asking about universal fertiliser, K45, 000 to K100, 000 tax band, 1 million jobs. In fact, people are not talking about the rising deaths and cases of COVID as clueless Chakwera is sleeping on the job.

Medson
Medson
7 months ago

Remember DPP is no longer in power
Tonse alliance said money is in the government,let them deal with the problem without blaming former government.
I feel first strike more to come coz our government promise us more than on the budget.

Malawi walero
Malawi walero
7 months ago

Muli ndi umboni wanji kuti anaba ndalama za COVID19? Mkungosokosa za ziiii

Mwenye dambuzo
Mwenye dambuzo
7 months ago

Boma lili busy kumanga okuba paja Covid kulibe….clueless Chakwera pa chiwongolero

Opportunist
Opportunist
7 months ago
Reply to  Mwenye dambuzo

Tinavotabe

Mangochi Kabwafu
Mangochi Kabwafu
7 months ago
Reply to  Mwenye dambuzo

When and who caused these strikes? Isn’t it not the old nkhalamba and his mafia government?

Hawell
Hawell
7 months ago

Do not mention APM this time govt in the hands of Tonse alliance so Chakwera money is there K10 billion is that money with APM? How foolish are you when making comments. He is in power why is he failing to make a directive for an immediate release of the funds? Leave APM to rest at his retiremnt home musamuyambe paja akalankhula ndiye amangokhadzuliratu inunso nkuyamba kulira so leave him alone. All the best APM, long live DPP

Fake Petros
Fake Petros
7 months ago

@Mangochi
This is just Al Capone Mutharika and his looterprenuers government after effects

Ken
Ken
7 months ago
Reply to  Mwenye dambuzo

They are busy arresting DPP members on FAKE charges to divert attention from Chakwera’s weak leadership. Of course, the arrests are meant to destroy DPP but it will all backfire when people realise Chakwera is USELESS.

Banda
Banda
7 months ago

Still cannot understand why Government continues to pay these workers when they are not working. Other countries do not pay their workers full pay during strikes they stop paying them and it is the Union’s jobto pay them. Remember Ronald Reagan US President fired all the Air Traffic Controller because it was an essential service. A few years ago Malawi University’s were on strike for more than half a year at full pay. If you are being paid no reason to negotiate or settle.

Mangochi Kabwafu
Mangochi Kabwafu
7 months ago
Reply to  Banda

True and they need to back to work while negotiations are taking place, or get them fired. They have to understand that the new administration has just come in and that we’re in a state of crisis.

Chamunorwa
Chamunorwa
7 months ago
Reply to  Banda

I agree with you . Sometimes forget about the tonse philosophy and act dictatorial. These are essential services. Suffice to say their grievances are being addressed and thus must not hold the nation to ransom. And where is the Army in all this..Covid 19 is real and causing to have these materials not delivered is treasonous. The new dispensation has been in power for over a week and is being held to ransom. Yes the concerns are genuine so is the threat caused by Covid 19. There are times when dialogue does not work.. Let the army step in or… Read more »

Ungwelu
Ungwelu
7 months ago

Government knows how to deal with unreasonable demands. Please get over it and let the country receive COVID-19 materials

Mangochi Kabwafu
Mangochi Kabwafu
7 months ago

I thought we had Army Airwing? Don’t we have trained soldiers to temporarily take charge at our airports? Surely you can not allow covid-19 kit and other cargo to not arrive. And strikers, be assured that this new government will look after you unlike those thieves and murderers. Your demands will have to be reasonable though.

Chamunorwa
Chamunorwa
7 months ago

Its only army airwing in name. Do they even have planes. One helicopter….Just disband the unit as let it be coopted into other serious units

Malume Chakwelagalu
Malume Chakwelagalu
7 months ago

Just meet their demands..pay them they will go bsck to work..kuyendesa boma is a serious business..amayi ndi a bambo si mpingo wa Assemblies uwu where everyone listens even mukawauza kuti next sunday every family should bless the Pastor with a chicken

Mzika
7 months ago

Awakunthe iwowo khovidiyo kuti adziwe Yesu.

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