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Malawi Police promotions unsettle prison services

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By Jameson Chauluka:

James Kadadzera

Junior staff and management of the Malawi Prison Service are at loggerheads over their planned sit in today, in protest against the government’s decision not to extend promotions it has made in the Malawi Police Service to them.

The department’s management has issued a warning in a memo, warning junior staff of repercussions if they go ahead with the planned activity.

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“All staff is reminded that it is a contravention of the laws of Malawi for uniformed staff to engage in industrial action. Prischief [Prison Chief] therefore requests all staff to remain professional as management is engaging high authorities on the same,” reads part of a memo which Malawi Prison Service (MPS) Commissioner for Operations, Yafet Chimodzi, has signed.

MPS spokesperson, Chimwemwe Shaba, confirmed that the memo came from the service and said it contained the stand of the service on the planned industrial action.

However, one of the junior staff members, who did not want to be named, said they would proceed with their planned industrial action.

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He said they have been neglected for a long time.

“We have seen the memo stopping us from engaging in the industrial action but we are going ahead. We are not afraid of anything,” he said.

The junior workers say this is the third time the government has promoted junior officers in their sister department, Police, without extending the gesture to them.

The government has promoted 3,000 police officers, a move which national Police spokesperson James Kadadzera said was made to motivate the officers for keeping crime rates down.

In 2017, prison warders also went on a nationwide strike demanding salary harmonisation with officers in Police and the Department of Immigration in the same grades.

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