National

Striking health college workers get court relief

By Audrey Kapalamula:

The Industrial Relations Court in Lilongwe has granted Malawi College of Health Sciences (MCHS) members of staff an injunction, restraining the college’s board from withholding their remuneration.

This follows a 14-day notice that the board gave the workers on July 22, 2019 to resume work.

The injunction that the workers’ welfare committee obtained on August 2, 2019 further stops the board from treating the workers as having absconded work and left employment of the college.

“Upon hearing the applicants and reading the affidavit in support, it is, hereby, ordered that an order of injunction be, hereby, granted restraining the Board of Malawi College of Health Sciences from proceeding with the following threatening action or in any way acting on the board’s letter to the applicants dated 22 July 2019,” the injunction reads.

In the letter, the board ordered the workers to return to work within 14 days, arguing that the dispute between the parties was resolved during conciliation.

The board then threatened that if the workers did not comply their remuneration would not be paid.

The board also said striking staff, after 30 days from the date of the letter, would be deemed to have absconded and that the staff would be taken to have repudiated their contract of employment and would accordingly be treated as having left employment of the college.

The workers put down their tools in March 2019 demanding salary increment, pension arrears and life group cover.

Following the strike, students have been holding demonstrations, demanding re-opening of the college while, recently, civil society organisations threatened to drag the government to court on the matter.

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