By: Happy Arnold Soko
Teachers from public secondary and primary schools in Malawi have threatened to go on a nationwide strike following unresolved issues with the Ministry of Education Science and Technology.
The sit-in is scheduled to start on Monday 9th May 2016 due to the Ministry’s failure to resolve teachers’ grievances which were given through a letter Reference Number TUM/MoEST/385/2016 dated 17th March 2016, submitted to the office of the Chief Director responsible for primary and secondary schools.
In a letter addressed to the Ministry of Education Science and Technology signed by Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) Chauluka Muwake, the Malawi government was given a 24 days ultimatum to resolve the issues or endure the industrial action.
The letter has singled out six grievances which ranges from immediate Promotion and salary adjustment of teachers promoted in 2013 to Grade TJ (PT2), immediate adjustment of salaries for all teachers promoted in 2013 to Grade TK (PT3), payment of leave grant for fiscal year 2015/16 to all secondary school teachers, payment of March 2015 salaries to teachers who were omitted and many more.
TUM has further blamed government’s failure to demonstrate its commitment to pay the teachers who were erroneously omitted from March 2015 salary.
Despite the Union’s efforts to engage the government, no visible action has been enforced to rectify the problem and yet the affected teachers have met the requirement of submitting their bank statements.
“While Teachers Union of Malawi has tried to employ all possible means to resolve the stated outstanding issues amicably, your Ministry, and your office, in particular, has failed to demonstrate a commitment to the same.
We requested a meeting through our letter sent to you on 17th March 2016 and up to now you have not provided any commitment to the holding of the said meeting, neither have you provided any tangible feedback on the issues that were raised in the said letter.
You need to be reminded that the Minister of Education, Dr. Emmanuel Fabiano has been on record fabricating that government delayed to recruit and deploy IPTE 7 and ODL 2 teachers due to the fact that money intended for such an exercise was diverted to the promotion of teachers, of which the deprived teachers are part and parcel,” reads the statement.
According to the statement made available to The Malawi Star, the Malawi government has not made the payment of salary arrears from 2015.
Further warns the release, “Your Ministry has always assured TUM that the arrears have been tabulated and that a request for funding has already been sent to Treasury. We wonder how long this shall take. Teachers have patiently waited for too long and for sure the patience has run out.
What justification would your Ministry have to fail to pay the salary arrears, some of which were accrued way back in 2010? We have waited for too long and enough is enough.”
Meanwhile, the government, through Ministry of education is yet to pay leave grant for fiscal year 2015/16 to all secondary school teachers.