Malawi judicial support staff call off nationwide strike, to resume work on Thursday

Judicial support staff, who downed tools mid July 2017 demanding house allowances and also harmonization of conditions of service with those of judicial officers, have called off the strike.

Some of the support staff captured at the High Court in Blantyre

The support staff, who earlier indicated that they will not back down, have resolved to resume work on Thursday, August 24.

Their decision comes barely a day after Chief Secretary to the Government, Lloyd Muhara warned that government will withhold their wages should they continue with their industrial action, which he described as illegal.

According to a statement signed by Charles Lizigeni, President for members of staff of the Malawi Judiciary, they arrived at the decision following legal advice they got from their lawyers.

Lizigeni said they also considered the right of access to justice and legal remedies of the citizenry and also the appeal from the Chief Justice.

“We wish to make it clear to the public that contrary to false assertions made by the Minister of Finance and Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet, the strike is lawful and fully compliant with all sections of the Labours Relations Act with particular reference to Section 44,” reads the statement in part.

The statement further assures the general public that they will have full access to the Courts by August 24.

He said they have been advised on other legal avenues for claiming their house allowances and “owing to the foregoing we have decided to pursue the same.”

Government issued a warning that it would withhold wages of striking judiciary support staff across the country they dont return to work.

The nationwide sit-in has crippled the judicial services across in the country.

The judicial support staff include court clerks, court marshals, drivers, interpreters and court reporters.

According to the Chief Secretry to the Government Llyod Muhara, the demand for housing allowances is not supported by the law as it is not provided for in the conditions of service.

Muhara further observed that it is illegal for support staff of the judiciary to block judicial premises and obstruct access to the courts.

“Government is therefore directing the support staff of the Judiciary to return to work immediately. Should the support staff refuse to comply with this directive, Government shall lock them out except for those willing to return to work unconditionally.

“Government shall also withhold wages from all those members of staff that will continue with the said illegal industrial action and take such further action within the law as would be available to any employer,” said Muhara in a statement issued on Monday.

He directed the support staff to remove any obstructions placed by them and to allow access to the premises for those not on strike as well as the general public requiring judicial services.

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6 years ago

Elder Sage I ameneyo!!!! Koma ziliko.

Peter Inithalika
6 years ago

Useless people. Today you demand thisand tomorrow that. These things need to be done following all the legal process as per Labour Relations Act. That is why you have been told you would not be paid. Do you get paid for doing nothing. What you did is like holding people seeking justice hostage with a gun. That was demanding a ransom.

6 years ago

I knew you were fighting a losing battle. How can you strike over allowances which are not domesticated in your conditions of service? Dissolve your committee and elect people with good knowledge of negotiation.

Elder Sage I
Elder Sage I
6 years ago

Living in the jungle will not make one a lion, nor growing at the mosque transform you to a mufti/sheikh. This lot is most misguided in the whole public service;. they have been staging industrial actions every three years for the past ten years or so, obviously achieving nothing. This time 4 weeks of shouting and singing political lullabies – zero result again. Wise up now, folks! They are just ordinary accountants, clerks, drivers, HR officers as the other civil servants – only that they serve at the courts. No special skills nor extra risks in their jobs. When you… Read more »

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