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Government gives in to Unima staff

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By Jameson Chauluka:

University of Malawi (Unima) support staff that had been on strike for a week resumed work Monday after Unima agreed to give them a 10 percent increment they had been demanding.

A letter released on October 21 and signed by Unima Council Chairperson the Reverend Billy Gama and University Workers Trade Union President Mike Namandwa indicates that the two parties have reached an agreement ending the industrial action.

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“[Unima] Council has agreed to give a 10 percent salary increment to all support staff in the University with arrears from 1st July, 2017 and UWTU [University Workers Trade Union] has agreed to return to work on Monday 22nd October, 2018,” reads the letter in part.

The letter further says the council applauds the Unima workers for their commitment to resolving the dispute.

Unima Workers Trade Union Secretary James Khando confirmed that the workers returned to work Monday and expressed hope that the government would honour its promise so that they do not go on strike over the same issue again.

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“The Council of University of Malawi conceded that it erred and that we would getting our 10 percent increment with arrears. If they do not comply, we will continue engaging them. If the worse comes to worst, we will go on strike again but I hope we will not go that far,” he said.

In 2017, the government gave all civil servants a 10 percent salary increment but the gesture was not extended to Unima support staff.

The sit-in affected provision of essential services in the constituent colleges of Unima.

On Tuesday last week, students at the Polytechnic were chased out of the library when the sit-in started.

Later in the week, water was disconnected at Chancellor College because people responsible for paying bills were on strike.

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