Malawi Parliament workers demand pay hike

Employees at the National Assembly are bitter with its management’s unconcern to press for two long overdue salary increments and have since demanded an audience with Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) on Friday for a way forward, the Nyasa Times understands.

The anger follows an emergency meeting Chief Human Resource and Development Officer Emmans Mwale on behalf of management team held on Monday, sources said.

Mwale is reported to have updated staff on both last year’s seven per cent increment and this year’s 21 per cent salary hike. Both increments have not been effected.

Workers at the legislative body demand pay hike

Parliament workers have not had increments since beleaguered Clerk of Parliament Matilda Katopola assumed office in 2006.

This year, PSC approved a 30 per cent increment but the Office of the President and Cabinet executed MPs’ 28 per cent increments, leaving out staff. Government announced in its 2012-13 Budget a blanket 21 per cent hike to Civil Servants.

The legislative personnel have been told that they will get only “15 per cent salary increment subject to availability of funds”.

Among the reasons for the audience with the PSC, the employees want a straightforward explanation why the OPC is taking away the powers of the commissioners, who the Act prescribes as the right people to approve salary increments.

“We would like to know if the Parliamentary Service Act was abolished. If so, let them abolish the Act and we go back to the Civil Service,” said one employee who sought anonymity.

The National Assembly workers are also bitter that management has still a hangover of fear from Katopola, who had vowed to bring back parliament into the Civil Service. Management was such subservient to her whims that it rubber-stamped heartless policies and directives of dictator Bingu wa Mutharika.

The Act detaching the National Assembly from the Civil Service was enacted in 1998. Just like the Judiciary, Parliament can approve its own pay perks and salaries.

There was a standoff following a pay hike strike at the Judiciary last year that took well more than half a year and such similar incidents may happen at the sole legislative body.

There is no trade union at the Malawi National Assembly and staff lead their life like in the medieval times of the feudal system, in which management personnel are not accountable for their actions.

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