UN Malawi staff threaten strike from Wed

Locally recruited Malawian staff of the United Nations missions have threatened to stay away from work from Wednesday onwards, over claims of abuse and failure to address their needs.

Following the 48% Malawi Kwacha devaluation, UN staff requested that their salaries that are budgeted in dollars but paid in Kwacha be pegged to the dollar to cushion them from the impact of the devaluation.

The UN is still paying their staff the salaries using the old Malawi Kwacha rate of 168 to a dollar. The explanation is that the UN cannot adjust staff salaries unless other international companies adjust.

Dictus: Asked to address the staff

“We do not want an increment; all we are asking is that we retain the value of our salaries. Our efforts to ask to be addressed by the Resident Coordinator, Richard Dictus have been futile. He does not even want to meet us to explain what is happening,” explained the dejected UN staff.

“We are frustrated, disappointed and angry that this organisation that preaches human rights cannot even be fair,” lamented one UNDP staff member who spoke to Nyasa Times anonymously.

The same UN that has refused to adjust local staff salaries reacted swiftly to the devaluation by alerting its entire internationally recruited staff that their salaries that are paid in dollars will be reduced by ten percent because “they now had too much money at their disposal.”

It has been disheartening to Malawian staff that despite several letters to the UN Human Resources offices in New York, there has been no response.

The local staff have not even been addressed by the Resident Coordinator Richard Dictus.

In his letter to all heads of UN Agencies, Dictus asked them to control their staff.

“It is important that you raise with your staff that the petition they raised is not appropriate. So agency heads should address their staff…in order to get on top of things.”

The angry UN staff submitted a petition to Dictus, demanding a response by 18 June. The staff have also agreed that if there is no response they will put down their tools on June 21.

Meanwhile other international  organisations have increased staff salaries by 40% and also pegged local staff salaries to the US $.

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