Government to freeze April salaries for teachers
There seem to be no end in sight to the impasse between government and Teachers Union of Malawi (Tum), with the former threatening to stop paying teachers monthly salaries if they will not report for work by Monday, April 12 2021.
The decision, which has already been communicated to Tum leadership, was reached following a deadlock in the negotiations which took place on Thursday afternoon in Lilongwe, in the presence of Malawi Congress of Trade Union executive members.
“The Government will issue a statement at an appropriate time. But what I can confirm is that government team has communicated to Tum executive that teachers will not be paid their salaries for the month of April if they will not resume work,” a source, who attended the meeting but asked not to be mentioned as he was not mandated to speak on behalf of the negotiation team which is chaired by Secretary for Labour, said.
The source said the government side is at pains to justify why it should provide risk allowances to teachers who are not teaching at the moment, hence the decision to suspend their salaries.
“The Tum leadership is probably driven by some hidden motives because their demands are coming at a time when government has already started reviewing salary structure for teachers. But on the issue of Covid-19 risk allowance, our stand as government is that no allowances will be given,” the source said.
In an interview, Tum President Willie Malimba said the teachers are not moved by the decision by government to freeze their salaries.
He said labour and employment laws are clear and as such, Tum strongly believes that government will follow the laws and pay the teachers their salaries even during the time the teachers will be observing the sit-in.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chairperson for the Industrial Relations Court, Howard Pemba Friday adjourned to Monday an interparte-hearing between government and Tum.
Government had on Thursday obtained an injunction against teachers’ sit-in.
Malimba, who was at the court, asked for an adjournment so that they should consult with their lawyers,
“Tum was served with the injunction immediately the leadership came out of the meeting it had with government representatives, we did not have ample time to read the entire injunction hence we have asked the court to gives us more time,” he said.
Human Rights Consultative Committee Chairperson Robert Mkwezalamba, said the two parties should address the concerns through the already initiated discussions.