Malawi’s northern region joins civil servants strike

Civil Servants in the northern region on Tuesday joined their colleagues in other parts of the country by officially engaging in the ongoing strike for better pay and working conditions.

On Wednesday the civil servants  announced that they will march to the Mzuzu Civic Offices to present a petition.

The Civil Servants have also asked the National Assembly to review the Public Service Act so that salaries are reviewed annually in tandem with inflation and depreciation.

“There is also need to revive the Remunerations Board, which has been dormant for some years so that it should ensure that civil servants salaries are reviewed each year based on the economic situation,” Civil Servants Trade Union  (CSTU) Regional Chairperson for the north Edward Gondwe said.PLUM2G

Mzuzu Civil servants on stay away
Mzuzu Civil servants on stay away

He made the announcement at the Office of President and Cabinet in Mzuzu, saying no civil servant should report for duties from Wednesday until government bows to their demands for a 67 percent pay rise.

But government has also made it clear that it was not ready to increase its employees’ salaries by such a demand as doing so would completely cripple government business.

Gondwe said the demand means the  lowest paid civil servant will cart home MK75,000 per month, which he claimed is at par with those on a similar grade but working institutions such as ACB, MHRC, Judiciary and  the National Assembly among others.

“Am appealing  to all civil servants in the districts to stay away from their offices. We are joining our friends now because we had agreed that our colleagues in Lilongwe and Blantyre should set the ball rolling may be government would listen but nothing has happened. That is why we are announcing today that from Wednesday we have stopped work,” said Gondwe to applause and ululations.

Speaking earlier CSTU Mzuzu District Chairperson Steven Mnyenyembe said there is rampant corruption in the Civil Service because of low wages and salaries.

Mnyenyembe also took a swipe at the CSTU negotiating Team saying it was failing to convince government during negotiations hence the current stalemate.

Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga has insisted that government coffers do not have the money to meet the demand.

The minister said implementing the 67 percent pay hike would mean government shooting its wage bill from the current K92 billion to K276 billion.

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