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Civil servants rejects government negotiator for tricking union leaders on Monday

The Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) has said the government should remove McPhail Magwira as chairperson of the Government Negotiation Team (GNT) if negotiations between the two sides are to continue.

Speaking on Thursday after addressing government workers who gathered at a junction to Ministry of Justice office, a place they have named Freedom Park, CSTU president Eliah Kamphinda Banda said the union has lost confidence in Magwira.

"We don't want Dr. Magwira to continue leading the GNT. Yesterday we had a meeting with them but no substantive issues were discussed. We cannot be doing things without a breakthrough. We need someone with whom we can understand each other," Kamphinda said.

The CSTU's loss of confidence in Magwira stems from a statement government released on Monday, allegedly jointly penned by him and Kamphinda, stating that the stay away planned for Monday and Tuesday had been cancelled.

CSTU, however, refuted the claims.

Yesterday, the workers continued with their stay away. After Kamphinda briefed the civil servants on the new developments, they started singing dirges as they went to the Ministry of Justice offices. They chased people they found in the building.

However, as they were about to continue with their plans to move from one office to another, police officers intervened and stopped them.

It had to take some minutes of discussion with the senior police officers who came before they continued with their plans.

Unlike the first three days, the civil servants yesterday closed the gate to Capital Hill for some minutes. They left Capital Hill at around 1 O'clock in the afternoon.

In an interview later in the afternoon, CSTU secretary general Pontius Kalichero said they had another planning meeting with the GNT.

"We had another planning meeting with some officials from the GNT. We are hoping that tomorrow (today) we will start discussing substantive issues. However, we still don't want Dr. Magwira to take part in the talks," Kalichero said.

Another meeting is scheduled for today.

Efforts to speak to Magwira on the way forward yesterday proved futile as he could not be reached on his mobile phone.

CSTU has a list of ten grievances which they want government to address. Among them is the harmonisation of salaries between the mainstream public service and other government departments receiving higher salaries.

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