A non-governmental organisation has demanded the Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) to stop deducting money from teachers’ salaries without the teachers’ consent.
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has issued the demand in a letter to TUM dated September 21.
According to CDEDI executive director Namiwa, teachers have complained that they become members of TUM without any written consent.
Namiwa said this is contrary to section 31(2) of the republican constitution which states that: “All persons shall have the right to form and join trade unions or not to form or join trade unions.”
The TUM Constitution also states that every teacher shall be eligible for admission to the Union as full member upon completion of the membership and registration form and payment of subscription fee to be agreed upon at an Annual General Meeting of the Union.
Namiwa added that most teachers are being deducted membership fees from their salaries without prior written consent.
He said this contravenes section 32(1) of the TUM’s Constitution which requires written consent before TUM deducts from the member’s salary.
“Most teachers in the country are not clear on the benefits of being a member of the TUM, even though they are paying the membership fees against their will,” said Namiwa.
Lack of transparency at TUM has also concerned the teachers and CDEDI has accused the union of not consistently holding the Annual General Meeting where issues of money are discussee.
CDEDI has since told TUM to stop deducting membership fees from teachers who are not members of the Union.
CDEDI also wants TUM to stop making the Union’s membership compulsory for all teachers in the country.
“TUM should officially publish a list of its members in the newspapers who voluntarily joined the Union by filling in the membership forms. This will enable all the teachers in the country to know whether they are indeed members of TUM or not,” said Namiwa in the letter.