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Deadlock in Malawi College of Health Sciences strike

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By Audrey Kapalamula:

Students at Malawi College of Health Sciences (MCHS) will have to wait a little longer before they resume classes as workers at the college have refused to return to work despite management and the board meeting some of their demands.

The workers have entered a third week of the strike in which they are demanding implementation of a new salary structure, remittance of pension arrears to Nico Company as well as to be put on life cover.

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In a letter sent to the college’s Welfare Committee dated November 2 2018, MCHS Board Chairperson, Kondwani Chalulu, says the group life cover had been paid for and that the board is looking into the issue of salary structure as well as working on payment plan of pension arrears.

“The board has done its best to resolve the issues and there is evidence that the board is moving towards addressing your [workers’] concerns. The board expects the welfare committee to appreciate what has been done and what continues to be done round the clock to address the concerns,” reads part of the letter

It further proposed re-opening of the college by November 12.

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But MCHS Workers’ Welfare Committee Chairperson, Hellen Mwafulirwa, said the workers have turned down the board’s proposal for them to return to work, saying they have lost trust in the board and management, hence the need for authorities to meet workers’ demands before they resume work.

“We had a meeting in Lilongwe with the Vice Chairperson of the Board where we were communicated on the progress made so far. They have paid up on the group life cover [but], on the pension arrears, they are working on the implementation plan on how to pay. In view of the salary structure, the documents are under scrutiny at the department of Human Resource.

“The workers say they are not comfortable with the remaining issues of salary and pension arrears because we [workers and management] already set deadlines in our previous meeting in Mponela [Dowa District]. Considering that they breached our agreement, people have now lost trust [in them]. What they [workers] want is to have all their demands met before they start work,” she said.

Two weeks ago, students from MCHS campuses stormed the Office of President and Cabinet at Capital Hill to present their grievances, among them loss of learning time due to the staff strike.

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