By Duncan Mlanjira
On the day that Malawi joined the world to celebrate the International Day of Education on Friday, January 24, Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) suspended the national wide strike involving public primary, secondary school teachers and lectures in all the public Teacher Training Colleges (TTC).
The International Day of Education proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly to honour education and its centrality to human well-being and sustainable development, including gender equality.
It was celebrated under the theme of ‘Learning for people, planet, prosperity and peace’ but TUM’s sit-in demonstrations, which unfortunately was joined by the learners themselves as a form of solidarity, was not in respect of the International Day of Education
In a statement, TUM said they have decided to suspend their industrial action “basing on the fact that government has deposited the December 2019 salaries in the accounts of the affected teachers”.
“TUM has proved this and many teachers have confirmed this development,” said the statement signed by TUM president Willie Malimba and secretary general Charles Kamchenga.
“TUM is aware that some have not yet received and we are requesting all those who might not get their December 2019 salaries by 28th January 2020 to meet their respective District Education Managers (DEMs) or District Commissioners (DCs) for assistance.
TUM then asked all teachers and lecturers to resume their duties starting from Monday, January 27.
Meanwhile, Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) disassociated itself from reports that it is asking civil servants to assemble as country-wide demonstrations at Capital Hill Freedom Park in Lilongwe, Katoto Freedom Park in Mzuzu, Blantyre government offices and all district councils across the country.
In a circular signed by its president Josephy Mdambo and secretary Madalitso Njolomole, CSTU says that it has agreed with government that all civil servants who did not get December 2019 salaries should receive them latest Friday (January 25, 2020).
The circular urges all civil servants that the union has laid down procedures which are supposed to be followed and adhered to when calling for any industrial action by its members.
“This is according to CSTU Constitution and the Recognition Agreement between Government and CSTU,” says the circular.
CSTU then reminded its members that since its 5th Quadrennial Congress in June, 2018, the CSTU leadership has achieved, among others, 100 percent increase of daily subsistence allowances and 70 percent increase on leave grants.
CSTU also says it has negotiated with Government to increase civil servants salaries from an initial 8 percent average increase to 15 percent starting from July 2019 and making sure that all salary arrears accrued due to this increment were paid by November 2019.
It has also introduced civil servants’ health insurance scheme which commenced in February, 2020 and that it has agreed with government to implement promotions for all employees who maintained same position for more that six years.
“This process has delayed mainly because of data cleaning exercise by DHRMD to avoid similar mistakes of promoting dead or retired teachers and police officers as was noted after massive promotions in the 2018/2019 national budget.”
CSTU also says it has introduced a website for easy communication between its secretariat and it members.
“CSTU is therefore advising all its paid up members that in the event that they have concerns which need to be addressed by CSTU leadership of Government, they should use proper channels as stipulated in the CSTU constitution and signed Recognition Agreement between Government and CSTU.
“CSTU leadership is therefore assuring its members that it will continue engaging Government to take responsibility of its employees to make sure there is improved working conditions of all civil servants in Malawi which would result in productivity,” says the circular.