Mzuzu based Royal private schools are embroiled in a labour dispute as 12 of their teaching staff have taken the matter to the Industrial Relations Court demanding K4 million in unpaid dues.
The 12, who comprise eight and four secondary and primary school teachers, respectively, have dragged their Director Joseph Patemba to court as they claim either not to have been paid or partly paid their salaries since February this year.
In an interview, the 12 claimants are demanding their salary arrears from February this year, their pay slips and pension scheme statements from Nico Life Insurance dating back from December 2012.
The 12 took the matter to the labour office where the director agreed in principle to resolve the matter within a specified period of 14 days, but the period has elapsed prompting them to seek legal redress.
“We decided to take the matter further after we were advised by the labour office to take the issue to the Industrial Relations Court since the 14-day ultimatum elapsed without anything tangible from the director,” said one of the teachers on strict condition of anonymity.
In a separate interview, Patemba said he has written the labour office to consider extending the 14-day period for another week so that he resolves the matter with the teachers.
He, however, said the teachers have bloated the K4 million figure and that they just want to tarnish the school’s image.
But in a letter signed by Patemba himself, he agreed to pay the K4 million to the concerned 12 teachers.
“The amount is bloated just to tarnish the institution’s image and I cannot pay that amount since some of the teachers were not even coming to school for work,” Patemba said.
The concerned teachers claim that the director now wants them to come back to the school and resume their duties, a claim Patemba denies.
“I cannot call them back because I want teachers who are good, behavior wise and these teachers are not since they just want to tarnish the institution’s image,” Patemba insisted.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :