Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) has warned MPs against rejecting Public Service Remuneration Board Bill currently in Parliament, saying the civil servants will find it difficult to forgive them.

Speaking at Parliament Building in Lilongwe onThursday, CSTU president Eliah Kamphinda Banda said there is need for MPs to support the civil servants’ cause.

He presented the petition to Parliament through Mwanza Central MP, Nicholas Dausi.

“Coming this far, we want to emphasise that you are our last hope. We do not want a system where a driver gets more salary than an engineer or a clerical officer pocketing more than a medical doctor. How do we motivate our highly educated children if we leave this trend is unchecked? If this bill fails to pass, civil servants in Malawi and all your constituents may find it difficult to forgive you. Likewise, if the bill passes, civil servants and your constituents will continue giving you the much needed respect,” he said.

In the petition, the civil servants have said they want all MPs to make sure that the board is given powers to make decisions.

“Civil servants in Malawi would like members of parliament to debate The Public Service Remuneration Board Bill No 11 of 2013 thoroughly; ensure that the board does not become white elephant but has the mandate to make decisions as opposed to consult and propose. We want the bill to be passed in the august House during this meeting of Parliament and all remunerations and conditions of service of all public officers, including cabinet ministers should be determined by the board,” reads the petition.

Dausi promised scores of civil servants who converged at presidential gate of Parliament that he would take the petition to the office of Speaker of Parliament Henry Chimunthu Banda.

In February, the civil servants staged a strike, where apart from demanding salary increment, they were pushing for harmonisation of salaries in the civil service.

CSTU takes the board as an entity that will help in fulfilling that demand.
On Tuesday, the Bill was introduced in the House. MPs however, did not conclude debate on it after they expressed reservation on the functions of the board.

Minister of Justice Ralph Kasambara on Thursday clarified on the issues the MPs raised.

In his clarification on the bill, Kasambara assured the MPs that the bill will have the powers it deserves.

“The use of the word shall ‘consult’, was deliberately chosen to achieve the intention that whatever this board will be advising shall be professional advice and all relevant public bodies shall be more or less bound by that advice. It’s not just mere consultation,” he said.

He however stressed that the primary function of the bill is to bring equity and fairness in terms of remuneration in the civil service.

“The primary function of the board shall be to review and to make recommendations, in respect to remuneration of employees in public bodies. We would like to bring equity in terms of remuneration among the civil servants. It is very unfair people of same qualification joining different government departments receiving different salaries. We need to bring equity, promote fairness among officials to make sure that they earn almost the same amount of money,” Kasambara said. – By Macdonald Thom

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