Malawi teachers warn of ‘radical’ action

Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) has warned that it will take “radical” action against government should it fail to immediately address all the issues which the two parties agreed upon during recent series of meetings on the plight of teachers in the country.

TUM’s General Secretary Dennis Kalekeni made the warning during the impromptu news conference which the Union organized Monday evening at Crossroads hotel in the capital Lilongwe where union representatives expounded on the issues of teachers’ promotion, salary increment and arrears.

Kalekeni said recent developments are indicating the government will not honour the salary increment as demanded by the teachers which they expect to be effected from 1st July.

“We have learnt with disappointment that the 71 percent increment which we had earlier agreed has been reduced to 9 percent,” said Kalekeni.

Kalekeni: Meet all teachers demands or face radical action
Kalekeni: Meet all teachers demands or face radical action

“This is below our expectation and a mockery to workers in civil service. There is no way would accept this,” he added.

Kalekeni said: “Should the government maintain this, our next approach will be radical and they should not expect us to behave in gentlemanly way as we have been doing.”.

He said it sad that the much touted 61 percent salary increment which government made recently on civil servants hasn’t changed in any way the pathetic lives of teachers saying the increment only benefited those in higher positions.

“Some people only got K1, 000 pay rise which was contrary to the expectations and it instead benefited the industrial class. But we didn’t take any action on this because were banking on the negotiations we were having on next pay rise. So this time around we will have no capacity of stopping the teachers from taking any action as we did with teachers in Dedza who were holding a strike,” he said.

Kalekeni also faulted the Teaching Service Commission for flouting teachers promotion procedure followed in 2003 a development he said has resulted in the strikes of teachers due to the discontent over how the recent promotion has been conducted

Education Minister Eunice Kazembe  announced  the promotion of 5,099 primary teachers to PT3 Grade on Sunday saying other 3, 800 teachers have been lined up for the promotion.

But Kalekeni said their initial agreement on the teacher’s promotion was to prioritize teachers who have served for a long time.

“There are teachers who have served for over 20 years which we wanted to be promoted but what the Teaching Service Commission did was to conduct interviews where they chose those they wanted.  However we are still maintaining our stand that all the long serving teachers should be promoted in the next phase without conditions.”

He applauded teachers who public showed their anger on the recent promotion but marching to their respective district education offices.

“I particularity want to thank teachers in Blantyre who showed their courage to march to district education office to raise their concerns.”

Kalekeni has also demanded an immediate withdraw and apologies from those who issued recent two circulars threatening to withhold salaries of any teacher who would absent from classes for five consecutive days and another one which demands any teacher who want to further their education to resign from work.

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