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Judiciary staff strike ends

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Judiciary support staff who have been on strike since July 31 have resolved to return to work starting Thursday.

In a communication signed by the President of Members of Staff of the Malawi Judiciary Charles Ligizeni which we have seen, the staff say they have decided to resume work following legal advice they have received, consideration of the right to access of justice and legal remedies of the citizenry and the appeal made by Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda.

Nyirenda met the Judiciary staff on Monday when he pleaded with the staff to return to work.

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“We wish to make it clear to the public that contrary to false assertions made by the Minister of Finance and the Secretary to the Office of the of the President and Cabinet, the strike is lawful and fully compliant with all sections of the Labour Relations Act with particular reference to Section 44.

“We appreciate the plight of all Malawians during the time of the strike. We have been advised on the legal avenues for claiming our right to housing allowance and owing to the foregoing, we have decided to pursue the same,” reads the communication.

On Monday, the government issued a statement in which it is said that the strike was illegal.

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It said the demand for housing allowances being made was not supported by the law as it was not provided for in their conditions of service.

“The government is therefore directing the support staff in the Judiciary to return to work immediately. Should the support staff refuse to comply with this directive, Government shall lock them out except for those willing to return to work, unconditionally.” reads the statement, dated 17 August 2017 signed by Chief Secretary to Government, Lloyd Muhara.

It further warned should any of the support staff refused to comply with the instruction, the government would proceed to use any lawful means against the staff.

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