A national sit-in for teachers in the country starts Monday, Teachers Union of Malawi (Tum) has said.
The decision by the teachers to withdraw their services follows government’s failure to pay them their 2016/2017 budget year leave grants.
In an interview yesterday, Tum president Willie Malimba said all concerned parties in the labour dispute have been duly informed.
The teachers made the resolution Thursday after a meeting they had with Secretary for the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Secretary to the Treasury and other government officials ended unsuccesfully.
Malimba said it came to the union’s attention that the government was arranging to pay the leave grants to secondary school teachers only, leaving out over 63,000 primary school teachers.
The union sa i d some secondary school teachers have received their leave grants together with May salaries but all primary and other secondary school teachers are still waiting and that the “waiting will be done through a sit-in”.
“All the PEAs (Primary Education Advisers) and Dems (District Education Managers) have been told of the arrangement. All teachers across the country have been alerted through a circular and WhatsApp messages. We are withdrawing our labour starting from tomorrow (today),” Malimba said.
Malimba said the union is aware that Ministry of Education is full of anomalies and the sit-in, therefore, is staged to have all the teachers who were left out given the leave grants.
Acting spokesperson in the Ministry of Education Lindiwe Chide said the ministry never imagined the issue would reach this extent as Tum was involved in all the processes.
“Since the issue was brought to our attention, we have been working with councils with guidance from the Treasury to compile names of all teachers who are supposed to receive leave grants. That part we have done; we are just waiting for funding,” he said.
However, Chide was not clear on what action the ministry would take to address the issue of the industrial action.
Chide added that names of all affected teachers have been compiled and that leave grants were being processed by local councils.
She said the Treasury is planning to pay the remaining teachers this month.
The industrial action has been postponed several times. Tum advised the government to pay the leave grants in December last year, extended the period to April this year before extending it further to last month— with no success.
Earlier, Treasury spokesperson Alfred Kutengule said leave grants are processed by line ministries and the Ministry of Education is better placed to address the issue.
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