Civil servants want labour minister reassigned


Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) has written President Joyce Banda to address different issues that are said to be affecting the civil service.

Among other issues, CSTU have asked the President to reassign Labour Minister, Eunice Makangala, to another ministry for rejecting the newly elected members of the Malawi Congress of Trade Union (MCTU) at their recent congress.

In a letter dated October 2, 2012 signed by president of CSTU, Elijah Kamphinda, the labour body says it feels betrayed by the minister and that it will be difficult for it and its allies to work with someone who did not want them.

It claims that the minister sent several individuals to entice others to stop members from CSTU from contesting to allow former president and secretary general to stand unopposed.

“As president of Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU), knowing that my General Secretary is now Chief Executive of MCTU, feel that the current Minister should apologize and be re-assigned because the current leadership will have no trust in her,” reads the letter in part.

The Union also wants a 50 percent salary increment as compared to the average pay rise of 21 percent as considered by the government in the current budget.

Kamphinda says while the union appreciates government’s consideration, it would be necessary to bring to the President’s attention that there are still civil servants whose salary is below K20,000 who cannot afford a mini bus fare and walk daily for a distance of 20 kilometres but are expected to perform their duties effectively on daily basis.

“Your Excellency, Madam, we believe that an increment of 50 percent would be fair though not enough. May we also indicate that government Negotiating Team and CSTU plus its partners (Teachers Union and Nurses Union) agreed that from July, we would be working at harmonizing salaries in the public service on the understanding that the employer is one. We are therefore waiting patiently on resumption of the talks on those lines,” it says.

The Union also wants government to allow civil servants in remotest areas to get salaries through bearer’s cheques or payroll and also that rural allowances must be extended to all civil servants in the rural areas.

It says before the system was implemented they warned that the civil servants shall be spending more time and money on trips as they need to travel as far as 100 kilometres to get to a bank and sometimes make several trips before salaries are finally deposited.

The Union also says there are other civil servants who are also working in rural areas under similar conditions therefore need for an extension to them as well to avoid discrimination.

In an interview on Thursday Kamphinda confirmed authoring the letter saying it has already been delivered.

“We wrote the President during the first week of October and we have delivered it through normal channels, we use when delivering letters to the President,” he said.

He said CSTU expected the President to consider addressing issues raised in the letter by the end of the month of October and is yet to hear from her.

But when contacted Principal Secretary for administration in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Charles Msosa, said he had not seen the letter yet.

“It could be that it is circulating somewhere. I am not part of the government negotiating team who might be dealing with the matter,” Msosa said.

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