There are no classes in all Malawi public schools as teachers have embarked on a nationwide strike following government’s failure to address several issues affecting their welfare, including outstanding leave grants.
Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM), a labour union representing over 40,000 teachers, said the strike will only end “until government addresses the teachers grievances”
TUM president Willie Malimba and s ecretary general Charles Kumchenga said in a statement that the other outstanding issues include failure by government to settle K353 million salary arrears (split in two categories of K103 million and K250 million) and delays by the ministry to issue letters of promotions.
The statement emphasises that government shall take “full responsibility of the aftermath of this industrial action” through its negligence in dealing with the matter with the urgency it deserved.
Students also condemned the government for what they call victimizing their teachers and accused the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology of deliberately “violating the right to education”.
The teachers union is battling the government over 24 grievances that included withdrawal of teachers’ promotions, the government’s failure to effect salary adjustments for the teachers promoted in 2013, failure by the ministry to pay leave grants to secondary school teachers for the 2015-16 financial year ending June 30, 2016 and delayed payment of salary arrears for all primary school teachers.
But presidential adviser on civil society organisations, Mavuto Bamusi, condemned the strike, saying government was already addressing their grievances.
He said Treasury had already started processing leave grants and that the last will be paid together with the June 2017 salaries.
A local education think tank — Civil Society Education Coalition — has backed the strike.
The think tank’s Executive Director Benedicto Kondowe said the teachers, who are often underpaid, are merely demanding what is due to them.