TUM leader disagrees with decision to call off strike

Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) president, Willy Malimba, says he does not agree with the decision of his fellow union leaders to call off the teachers’ sit-in.

He was reacting to an announcement by other TUM leaders that the teachers’ strike has been called off.

Vice President for the Union Rahema Haridi briefed the media this morning that the strike has been called off.

Speaking in a telephone conversation, Malimba said it is true that the strike has been called off but was quick to clarify that he was not part of the decision.

“I disagree with the decision because procedures were not followed. After the Presidential taskforce turned down our request for risk allowances yesterday, as a union we decided to invite national executive members to have a discussion. Surprisingly, the letter was released at night without my signature, so it is suspicious that is why I am not part of the decision,” said Malimba.

He added that he expected the union to receive direction from teachers who are owners of the union.

TUM vice president Haridi said the decision to suspend the strike follows their meeting with President Lazarus Chakwera earlier this week where the Malawi leader expressed his government’s commitment to improve the welfare of teachers.

“The President assured us that he understands that the teaching industry is one of the largest in the civil service; that as President of this country, he is committed to serving Malawians in everything,” she said.

Teachers have been staying away from work since Monday as they are demanding Covid-19 risk allowances and personal protective equipment.

Minister of Education Agness Nyalonje yesterday announced that the Presidential Taskforce on Coronavirus has rejected the proposal to give teachers Covid-19 allowances arguing that it would not be appropriate at this time.

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