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Malawi Parliament intervenes in teachers’ strike after futile Chakwera-TUM interface

Malawi Parliament intervenes in teachers’ strike after futile Chakwera-TUM interface

BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)—As a strike by teachers in public schools enters a third day, the Parliamentary Committee of Education has decided to intervene and is today expected to hold an emergency meeting over the continued standoff between the teachers leadership and the government.

Speaking to Capital FM, monitored by Maravi Post on Wednesday morning, Blaise Kaisi who chairs the committee said that the situation is worrying hence their intervention.

The development comes as the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 is yet to answer the demands for the teachers.

The teachers withdrew their services on Monday to among others demand for Covid-19 allowances following the re-opening of schools.

On Tuesday, the leadership of the teachers met President Lazurus Chakwera who assured them that the Presidential Taskforce is looking into their demand.

Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) president, Willy Malimba, told journalists on Tuesday that the meeting between TUM and the president was successful and that the president has ordered the taskforce to look into their grievances as soon as possible.

According to Malimba TUM will continue the strike despite the meeting with the president, saying they will be expecting results of the taskforce’s meet.

He has further told journalists that TUM is not looking for the allowances to be paid upfront but a commitment from government on the allowances.

Reports indicate that during the Monday’s meeting, Ministry of Education and the Taskforce officials put it to teachers how they were going to address their concerns and TUM agreed that teachers would start working while the raised issues were being looked into, but later the union changed its reasoning and it is the change in the decision that prompted Chakwera to seek an interface with them (TUM).

TUM is asking the government to consider teachers with risk allowances in the face of the current Covid-19 pandemic, buy them Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) and permanently recruit the Initial Primary Training Education (IPTE) 13 teachers.

Last week, TUM asked all the primary, secondary schools teachers and all the lecturers in Teacher Training Colleges (TTCs) to observe a stay-away until government responds to their concerns.

Additional reporting by Richard Kayenda

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