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Civil servants ultimatum expires

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Felix Mlusu

The Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) will today decide whether to accept the 10 percent salary increment which the government is offering or take industrial action against the government.

CSTU acting General Secretary Mabvuto Kaonga told The Daily Times that workers in the government, which is the largest single employer in the country, will know their fate today.

The development follows the expiry of the seven-day notice that civil servants gave the government to implement a 15 percent salary hike as per an early agreement.

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“The seven-day notice given to the Office of the President and Cabinet is expected to end today. We will, therefore, make our position known by the close of business [on Monday],” Kaonga said.

He said Malawi Congress of Trades Unions had been negotiating with the government side, adding that Capital Hill was expected to give its feedback today.

Labour Deputy Minister Vera Kamtukule referred us to Principal Secretary for the Department of Human Resources Management Blessings Chilabade, who is a member of the Government Negotiating Team (GNT).

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“We, as the Ministry of Labour, get notices on industrial action and our job is to advise that such should be guided by the law,” Kamtukule said.

Chilabade was unavailable yesterday.

On July 15 this year, CSTU wrote Secretary to the President and Cabinet Zanga-Zanga Chikhosi, accusing Capital Hill of lacking seriousness in implementing the average 15 percent increment.

“We are registering our disappointment with government over the lack of seriousness regarding implementation on negotiations concerning civil servants salary increment for 2021/2022 fiscal year.

“CSTU and GNT amicably negotiated and agreed. However, we have noted with great concern that government is delaying to implement what we agreed on the salary increment,” CSTU said.

Speaking when he presented the 2021/22 National Budget, Finance Minister Felix Mlusu said wages and salaries were projected at K436.3 billion, or 22 percent of the total budget pegged at K1.99 trillion.

A five-percentage point adjustment in the salary hike could see the wage bill swelling to around K502 billion, meaning Mlusu could have to find a way of financing the K66 billion deficit that could be created.

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