Unima Council seeks court help on sit-in


By Feston Malekezo:


Council of the University of Malawi (Unima) has written Registrar of the Industrial Relations Court that it intends to bring an application, on October 19 2018, restraining the university’s support staff from proceeding with a sit-in which started on Tuesday.

A court document dated October 17 2018 which The Daily Times has seen reads in part: “Kindly take notice that the applicant (Council of the University of Malawi) intends to bring an application on October 19 2018 at 9: 00am for an order restraining the respondents (University Workers Trade Union) and its membership from proceeding with a sit-in until the unresolved dispute between the applicant and the respondents is determined by this court.”


However, Unima spokesperson, Alfred Banda, said he could not comment on the matter as it is in court.

In separate interviews, University Workers Trade Union President Mike Namandwa and Secretary General James Khando said they would not call off the strike until their issues are resolved.

“We have no intention of calling the strike off,” said Namandwa.


Khando said they are ready to give their side of the story in court.

The support staff, who are over 900 in all Unima constituent colleges, including those at the Unima central office, are pressing the university to effect a 10 percent salary hike.

The increment is based on a 10 percent offer which the government made in July 2017 to all statutory corporations including Unima.

The support staff said they did not receive the 10 percent increment despite council giving the same to academic and administrative members of staff.

In April, support staff staged a sit-in, demanding that the council should honour its pledge to effect a 12 percent salary increment from an agreed 25 percent. The council only effected a 13 percent increment.

Eventually, the council obtained an injunction, restraining support staff from holding the sit-in.

Meanwhile, education expert, Benedicto Kondowe, has said much as industrial actions affect students, the school’s academic calendar is also disturbed and this, in the long run, affects Unima’s performance on world university rankings.

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