UN reacts on Malawi staff strike threat

United Nation (UN) has reacted to a story that locally recruited Malawian staff of their missions have threatened to stay away from work from Wednesday onwards, over claims of abuse and failure to address their needs.

In a stated issued in Lilongwe by UN Resident Coordinator, Richard Dictus, made available to Nyasa Times, the world body says it is “keenly aware of and sympathetic to concerns expressed by its staff pertaining to salaries and benefits in the wake of the recent devaluation.”

Dictus said the United Nations Country Team, comprised of all heads of UN agencies in Malawi, is working towards early solutions within the UN system’s policies and procedures and with full consultations with Staff Representatives.

Dictus: There is a lag between time salaries are adjusted

“The United Nations pay scales place our staff amongst the best paid in the country, with pensions and a comprehensive medical insurance,” said the statement.

“The global UN Salary Methodology stipulates that pay scales are set by comparison to nine public and private sector employers. As the majority of these employers may be adjusting their pay scales and benefits to the cost of living and devaluation, United Nations staff can expect that the Office of Human Resources in New York will make adjustments accordingly,” Dictus explained.

The statement adds: “UN, as obligated by its member states, is neither a trend setter nor market leader and therefore there is a lag between the time that salaries are adjusted by the comparators and salary rises of UN staff.”

He said the UN is currently working with the representatives of the staff on negotiating the implementation of so called “special measures” to try and smooth this process as much as possible and is in consultation with New York “to see what can be done to avoid undue hardship on our staff and their families.”

Dictus said the UN workers have been informed at all junctures by their managers and staff representatives of the state of progress.

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

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