LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-Malawi teachers through Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) have threatened to go on strike monthly if the Ministry of Education fails to meet salary payment deadline starting from March , 2017.
The announcement comes amid salaries delay for the month of January which some teachers in other districts including Chitipa have not yet received their dues.
TUM leadership including its president Chauluka Muwake and secretary general Denis Kalekeni disclosed this during a news conference held on Friday night in the capital Lilongwe.
They argued that the monthly sit in will be effected to the affected districts.
Among other key grievances TUM wants the ministry to honour outstanding MK250 million salary arrears, payment of 2016/2017 fiscal year leave grant, insertion on payroll of some IPTE 8 and ODL 3 teachers who haven’t received salaries since April 2016.
Both Muwake and Kalekeni whose last year’s call for national wide strike over similar challenges did not materialize, have hinted that the current issues will be handled in districts as the ministry is implementing decentralization of salary payment.
Although appreciating the ministry decision on payment decentralization, Tum noted with concerns of implementing the system without analyzing its challenges arguing that it has tormented and tortured teachers due to delayed disbursement of January salaries.
The teachers’ body added that the salary woes could have been avoided if government took heed of its advice of implementing the program in phases by going through education divisions.
TUM has therefore threatened and demanded all teachers to go on strike every month when they do not get salaries in time effective March 1, 2017.
“TUM won’t allow such type of barbaric treatment of teachers to take root and teachers are obligated under all means to curb this cruelty. And the only way is for teachers to withdraw labor on the first day of the following month if salaries haven’t been paid”, warned Muwake.
On MK250 million salary arrears and payment of 2016/2017 fiscal year leave grant, the teachers’ body threatened also to go on sit-in effective May 2, 2017 if payment will not be paid by end of April 2017.
TUM has hinted that the measures put in place to address teachers’ challenges were arrived at after negotiations with government for several times proved futile.
“The union’s core duty is to impartially and passionately fight for the teachers’ welfare using all applicable constitutional means particularly in the wake of the current dilly-dallying techniques being employed by government on the already impoverished and heartbroken teachers. The ball remains in the government’s court”, said TUM
There was no immediate reaction from Ministry of Education spokesperson Lindiwe Chide as she was out of reach when contacted for several times.