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Health Sciences workers on strike

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Employees of the Malawi College of Health Sciences (MCHS) have downed their tools demanding an increase of their salary by at least 60 percent.

The Daily Times visit to the MCHS’ Blantyre Campus, found that the staff sitting idle, others playing bawo, and some sleeping in and outside the building while the whole gate was hanged with tree branches and banners carrying messages of their actions.

One employee, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of reprisals, said the sit-in started on Friday and has seen all the campuses joining in.

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“Our salaries are behind by 80 percent compared to other [Employees on] grade C in statutory corporations. We wanted government to give us a 60 percent increment so that the gap between us and our collegues is not huge, unfortunately, government says it cannot consider us,” the employee said.

He further said the sit-in, which is their last resort as all negotiations with government have hit a blank wall, has seen students sent on premature holiday because lecturers have joined.

“We initially proposed that the increment should be done in phases. But to no avail. All health workers, nurses, clinicians, and radiographers have been sent on vacation for two weeks by management. We just hope this issue shall be resolved by that time,” he said.

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An internal memo that is at the Blantyre Campus notice board and was issued on September 30, 2016 and signed by the College’s principal a Mr. DJ Simango, advised all students to leave the campus by that day and the morning of October 2, 2016.

“Students are allowed to take with them their room keys but are not allowed to come back on campus and management is not responsible for any loss or damage of property in the room within the period. Re-opening date is October 18, 2016 unless otherwise advised,” the statement reads.

Comptroller of Statutory Corporations, Zanga Chikhosi, downplayed the sit-in when asked in a telephone interview saying the College’s Board will resolve their grievances soon.

“They cannot be comparing themselves with other parastatals. They should talk about themselves. The information I know is that their issue is going to be sorted out by their board in liaison with appropriate government ministries. It is not such a big issue,” Chikhosi said.

The Malawi College of Health Sciences is a state owned training institution for health workers and it offers certificates and diplomas in Biomedical Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Nursing Sciences and Midwifery, Dental Therapy, Ophthalmology, Pharmacy, Optometry, Environmental Health, Community Health Nursing, Psychiatric Nursing and Radiography.

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