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Civil Service Trade Union gives government an ultimatum

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Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU) has given the government a two-day ultimatum to address its grievances, failing which the public workers will stage a sit-in from Monday.

The decision was made during a meeting held Wednesday at the government offices in Blantyre following another meeting which was disrupted by police at Capital Hill on Tuesday.

CSTU held the meeting to solicit views from its members on the protest to the 10 percent pay hike.

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CSTU General Secretary, Madalitso Njolomole, said the union is expected to meet the government negotiating team tomorrow morning to find out government’s stand and if it sticks to the 10 percent, then the civils servants will go on strike from Monday.

“The meeting today was to consult fellow members of the union after the negotiations, we had with the government hit a deadlock. As a union, we believe in negotiations so we have agreed with members that we are going to meet the government’s negotiation team on Friday but members have asked us that if the government clings to 10 percent hike, then come Monday we will go on strike.

“So we have asked the government to consider increasing the package between today (Wednesday) and Thursday (today). The outcome of the meeting with the government will be known to the civil servants on Friday (tomorrow). We have not given the government the actual increment but we want the lowest paid who is getting K61,000 before tax to reach K75,000 before tax,” explained Njolomole.

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During the meeting which the CSTU held on Tuesday in Lilongwe, the police moved in and arrested two civil servants who were scheduled to mobilise their colleagues at Capital Hill to attend the meeting.

The two were arrested by atleast 20 police officers before they could even start to call out people to the meeting.

The CSTU is expecting to meet the Chief Secretary to the Government, Lloyd Muhara, to negotiate on the pay hike.

Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Goodall Gondwe, announced that the government will hike salaries for Chancellor College lecturers by 10 percent just like any public and civil servant.

The civil servants’ push for higher pay rise comes against the background of a warning by the International Monetary Fund on the wage bill while strengthening tax compliance to mobilise enough resources in line with the country’s goals.

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