Malawi nurses support two-day civil servants strike

Nurses and midwives say they will support a two-day stay-away on February 11 and 12 which is being called by the Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU).

The nurses through their mother body, National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives (Nonm), have since pledged to join the strike in protest against meager salaries and poor working conditions.

The strike has, however, faced mixed reactions with some sections of the civil service refusing to partake in the general sit-in.

In an interview with Capital Radio, Nonm president Abraham-Gama said it is only fair that the salaries of nurses and midwives as well as all civil servants be increased to meet the high cost of living prevailing in the country.

Nurses support strike
Nurses support strike

”Nurses just like any civil servant, are not spared from the economic hardship. Despite devaluation, government has not adjusted our salaries. The cost of living is high and our pays are same. The sit-in is a welcome move indeed,” said Gama.

Gama said the sit-in will help to push government to improve civil servants working conditions as well as listen to the call to adjust their salaries in accordance to devaluation.

CSTU president Eliah Kamphinda-Banda  argued poor conditions of service will pile pressure on a President already battling the backlash of free-market policies and a tough austerity budget that have dramatically increased the cost of living and pushed more people into poverty, hence the January 17 demonstration.

Kamphinda-Banda argued in the press that public servants are tired of being given a raw deal as government has failed to show commitment to improving their welfare.

“The civil servants’ morale is now too low and we advise all civil servants not to report for work on 11th and 12th February,” said Kamphinda Banda,

Kamphinda-Banda claimed the CSTU leadership is only carrying out instructions from civil servants who are owners of the union and that if government will not move in to avert the stay-away, a fully-fledged strike will follow.

“Reasons are that our salaries are too low, conditions of service are pathetic, all drivers must be given their vehicles, PP [People’s Party] should not be giving loans to civil servants. If they have money for loans, let it be administered by Treasury.”

Meanwhile, some teachers in government schools have defied the calls by their mother body, Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) not to participate in the industrial strike.

TUM president, Mauke Chauluka told the local media that they will not join the sit-in as government was working on CSTU raised concerns.

But CSTU, backed by some TUM members, has vowed to proceed with the fight to force government effect salary increment and improve civil service working conditions.

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