The country’s judicial support workers – who have been on strike for two months in November and December and only returned to work for a month – have threatened that they would withdraw their labour again if government does not fulfil its promises.
Malawi’s judiciary support staff went on strike last November to demand a 60-percent salary increase after other civil servants – including teachers – received 46-percent pay raises from the government.
The strike had paralyzed Malawi’s justice system, hindering proceedings in the high-profile “Cashgate case,” in which billions of kwacha were stolen from state coffers.
Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula said ] during the last meeting between government and a special working committee on conditions of service of Malawi judiciary, an agreement was reached that they should return to work while negotiations continued.
But Mvula said since then when they started work earlier in January 2015, “ government has hibernated, playing hide and seek and it seems not to be interested in the talks anymore.”
The local press quoted the Judiciary spokesman as saying: “We are willing to work and serve the country ,but if the worse comes to the worst, we will have no choice, but to put down tools again.”
Chief Secretary to government George Mkondowa said: “Apart from the silence, we have not been idle because we have finalised some documentation (on their demands) and everything is fine.”
Malawi’s court system suffered a serious backlog of legal cases following the strike and fresh threats of labour withdraw will affect delivery of justice more.