Civil Service industrial action escalates

Malawi: The ongoing Civil Service strike went up another notch on Wednesday as Aviation and Meteorological departments at the Kamuzu International Airport also joined the strike. Many flights to and Malawi have been cancelled. The two departments followed the footsteps of teachers who joined the stay away on Tuesday.

The industrial action is calling on the Malawi government to hike salaries by 67% in due to the high cost of living that has come following the devaluation and floatation of the Kwacha. The action was spearheaded by the Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU). On Wednesday the striking employees marched to Capitol Hill and deliver a petition to the Chief of Staff, Bright Msaka. It was also reported on British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that strikers had closed in cabinet ministers who were discussing strategies on how to address the current strike. Important sectors like health and education have been greatly affected.

On Wednesday riot police were deployed along the roads at Kamuzu Central Hospital round about all the way to Capitol Hill in City centre. The petition was successfully delivered. Commenting on the petition government spokesperson, Moses Kunkuyu, said on Joy Radio that the petition was not necessary as the issues on it were also on the agenda of negotiations currently being underway with representatives from CSTU. He added that an offer was to be presented to the Union’s negotiating team.

Government issues statement

On Tuesday government issued a statement stating that they were considering a minimal pay rise that was ‘in line with current economic position’. No actual percentage has been mentioned, but Finance Miniser, Ken Lipenga had said it would be difficult to hike the salaries due to the country’s frail economy.

Pupils take to the streets

The situation worsened on Thursday as police used tear gas dispersed pupils in Lilongwe and Blantyre as they also stormed the streets disgruntled by the lack of lessons in the schools. So far a Puma Convenience shop in Blantyre has been looted during these incidents. A few pupils are reported to have been arrested.

President Joyce Banda left on Thusrday morning for Equatorial Guinea where she is expected to attend Africa- South America (Ascof) Summit. The trip has been funded by the host according to State House statement.

NzN

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