Irate teachers storm District Council office
Some primary and secondary schools’ teachers from Lilongwe Monday stormed Lilongwe District Council office over unpaid November and December 2019 salaries.
The teachers’ action threatened the school calendar which commenced Monday.
The teachers, who are among 5,000 who spent the festive season unpaid, demanded they be paid their salaries Monday, arguing that the delay had affected their livelihoods.
The delay follows recent decision by the government to strike off on payroll civil servants who had not yet submitted their national identity cards as a way of dealing away with ghost workers.
However, officials from accounts and Human Resource Department said the teachers would get their arrears with January salaries.
Group representative, Isaac Nthala shot down the proposal and said they would seek other interventions on the matter.
“We issued the IDs before end of school calendar, and we came again to identify the IDs with the Human Resource Office but still our names went missing on the payroll. We later met the Principal [Secretary in the Ministry of education] Secretary where he advised us to come to the district office to find out more,” he said.
After a lengthy discussion, the teachers agreed to meet their mother body, Teachers Union of Malawi (Tum), to lobby for national teachers strike as a way of expressing their grievances.
“We will go to the Tum’s office to find out if it is going to intervene or not on this issue. If we find out that they will not assist us, we will go to the headquarters and meet the Accountant General,” Nthala said.
The teachers were locked up in a meeting with officials from the accounts office, Human Resource and District Education Manager among others.
Tum General Secretary, Charles Kumchenga, Monday said they were still discussing with the government that the concerned teachers should be paid by the end of this month.
“If the teachers are not paid by the end of this month, there would be mass action. It will be Tum demanding all teachers to down their tools because the teachers have been taken off the payroll for no better reason as most of them presented their IDs,” he said.
The council’s Director of Finance, Charles Mhone, emphasised that it was not possible for the teachers to access their salaries Monday, as there were the government procedures to be followed.
“I sympathise with you. But I can assure you that as a council we have done everything for you to get your salaries,” he said.
The government’s decision to strike off the civil servants on its payroll affected 7,088 civil servants and as of December 26 2019, the office of the Human Resources Development and Management said the number had dropped to 5,000.
HRDM spokesperson, Kennie Mtonga, then had said all who had submitted their IDs had received their salaries.