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Teacher’s woes: TUM plans nationwide strike on June 5 due to unpaid leave grants

Strike imminentanda


LILONGWE-(MaraviPost)-the Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) is expected to mobilize teachers in Government primary and secondary schools, for a nationwide sit-in, slated for June 5.
The teachers are putting down the chalk and demand outstanding leave grants from Government.
The pending strikes come amid disappointment the Union feels in seeing that Government has excluding primary school teachers in the 2017/2018 national budget.

The Union says the industrial action is necessitated by failed attempts to advise Government to pay the affected teachers.

Addressing a news conference on Thursday evening in Lilongwe, TUM’s President and Secretary-General Willie Malimba and Charles Kumchenga respectively, said the Union wrote the Secretary to Treasury on January 20, this year and reminded and advised him to provide funds for the payment of leave grants to teachers by 2017 March end.
To TUM’s dismay, the Treasury Secretary secretary did not bother to respond to the letter. The Secretary informed the Union through the local media that the Union erred by writing to the Treasury; he said the Union should have written to the Ministry of Finance.

When the teachers’ body wrote again to the Government, in March this year on the same issue, they were assured of the release of the funds by end of April.
Malimba was however, surprised to learn that end May, Government was arranging to pay the leave grants to secondary school teachers, leaving out all those in primary schools.

“Since Government has failed to provide funds for primary school teachers’ leave grants by end of May 2017, TUM is calling on all teachers in public schools to withdraw labour and sit-in, from Monday June 5, 2017.
This industrial action shall be called off, only after the leave grants have been paid to all primary school teachers. Secondary school teachers are also joining the strike in solidarity with their fellow teachers.
“TUM wishes to emphasise that Government takes full responsibility of the aftermath of this industrial action through its negligence in dealing with the matter with the urgency it deserves. So, parents and guardians are therefore, advised to take note of this development and advise their school children appropriately,” warned Kumchenga.
Benedicto Kondowe, Civil Society Education Coalition (CSEC)’ Executive Director, supports the Union for the sit-in, argued that their welfare has been infringed for a long time.
Kondowe observed that most issues the teachers raised to Government, are not considered, a sign of negligence.

He said the strike will be the last resort.
In response to TUM, Ben Botolo, Secretary to the Treasury said his office has processed all the requests by the Union, based on submission it made.

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