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Malawi civil service strike gains momentum

More civil servants joined the strike across Malawi with teachers and officers at the Road Traffic Directorate (RTD) joining the sit-in to press government for salary increments.

Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) on Tuesday advised all teachers in the country to join the strike and more teachers heeded the call as they abandoned classes, including half of the staff at Blantyre Teachers’ Training College (BTTC), according to sources on the ground.

Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU) president Elia Kamphinda Banda said the strike would only come to an end if government commits to increasing salaries.

Malawi Watch executive director Billy Banda said nurses and the RTD should have been the last groups to join the strike, considering that nurses save lives whereas the RTD generates substantial non-tax revenue for government.

He blamed the President for missing an opportunity to address issues affecting nurses when she met the National Organisation of Nurses in Malawi (Nonm) executive and others at Sanjika Palace in Blantyre on Monday.

State House press secretary Steve Nhlane, in a response to a questionnaire on Monday, said President Joyce Banda met with not only the executive of the Nonm but also representatives of various organisations aligned to the nursing/midwifery and health sector. These included the Nurses and Midwives Council of Malawi, Association of Midwives in Malawi, Health Service Commission, the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) and Ministry of Health.

Nhlane said a task force has been instituted to look into issues, including allowances for all categories of cadres in government; as well as hardship allowances for those who work in the rural areas.

In the Northern Region, civil servants also joined their counterparts in the Central and Southern regions in putting down tools to force government to improve their conditions of service.

The civil servants are this Wednesday expected to march from Katoto to Mzuzu City Council offices to petition government on their grievances.

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