Teachers’ stay away enters third week

Teachers in the country are proceeding with their stay away which is aimed at forcing the Malawi Government to start giving them K35,000 a month as Covid-19 risk allowance.

Last week, the teachers through their mother body Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) met Ministry of education officials and commissioner of labor where it was reported that an agreement has been made that teachers will resume their work last Thursday.

However, TUM made a u-turn on the matter on grounds that officials from ministry of education and the commissioner of labor forced TUM president Willie Malimba to sign up a letter which ordered all teachers to resume their duties.

Speaking to the media on Sunday, Malimba said that teachers will not go back to work until government bows down to their demand and it has been disclosed that teachers want to be given K35,000 a month for the next six months.

TUM president added that after the said six months, government shall review the package depending on the Covid-19 positivity rate then.

“The stay away is still on that means from this Monday again teachers will not report for work until our demands are resolved by the Malawi government.

“Now, we have been talking of this issue without being exact on the amount we want to be given as risk allowances, we want to be clear here that we want to be getting K35,000 a month for the next six months, thereafter government shall review it,” said Malimba.

Malimba has also confirmed that TUM together with officials from the Ministry of Education are this Monday, March 8th, 2021 slated to meet the parliamentary committee on education to mark the way forward of the matter.

Meanwhile, rights group, Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has threatened that it will call for peaceful demonstrations if government fails to resolve current teachers’ stay away by Wednesday, 10th March, 2021.

CDEDI president Sylvester Namiwa said it is surprising that government has sworn never to give the teachers the risk allowances, yet in July, 2020 teaching was classified by the Presidential Task force on the pandemic as a profession that is at risk.

Namiwa wondered why the Chakwera led government is currently busy splashing out money to some individuals, in the name of Covid-19 cushion measures and failing to do likewise to teachers who according to him, really deserves it.

He said such underhand tendencies of splashing out cash is an indication that government has enough money in its coffers for the fight against the pandemic, hence CDEDI’s demand to end the current standoff between the teachers and government

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