A day after the Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) called off the industrial action that aimed at pressurizing government to give them K35,000 risk allowance per teacher, the union has announced a U-turn saying that it would only cancel the strike after being assured of government’s commitment to addressing their concerns.
In a letter dated March 5, signed by the Union president, Willy Malimba, the union is demanding MK35,000 as a risk allowance for each teacher and provision of adequate personal protective equipment’s before teachers can report for duties.
According to the letter, the union is grateful to government for promises on improved working conditions but, it would be imperative if their immediate concerns were addressed with urgency they deserve.
“The strike continues,” reads the letter in part.
The letter highlights and justifies teachers’ demands for risk allowances by, among others, referring to labour guidelines on risk and safety in workplace amid Covid-19 surge.
“The report places teachers at medium risk and more teachers have died of the virus,” adds the letter.
Teachers have been shunning their duties for two weeks now.
Meanwhile, parents have expressed concerns about the prolonged school break saying learners, mostly girls, are losing interest in school and may soon resort to getting married.
Education advocates in the country say, learners are victims of an academic massacre which has deliberately been imposed on them by government and the teachers union of Malawi.
In an interview, Issac Msiska of Inclusive Education Movement (IEM), said government’s laxity to address the concerns of teachers is detrimental and disastrous to the education sector.
“Learners have already suffered a lot. They’ve been on holiday for close to a year and this trending strife between teachers and government is extending the holiday. This is very dangerous to learners,” he said.