It has been revealed that the Tonse Administration has agreed to hike civil servants’ salaries by an average of 15 percent after the workers protested the 10 percent hike and the increment is effective November 1 2023.
However, Capital Hill still has to deal with National Organisation of Nurses and Midwives of Malawi (Nonm) and Physicians Assistants Union of Malawi (Paum) who insist on an increment of up to 40 percent after the 44 percent kwacha devaluation last year.
In an interview yesterday, Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) secretary general Charles Kumchenga confirmed that an agreement was reached with the Government Negotiating Team (GNT) during a meeting on December 22 2023.
He said the meeting involved TUM and Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU), which are the country’s largest public service unions.
Said Kumchenga: “The government insisted on a 10 percent salary adjustment, but after lengthy negotiations, an agreement was reached to push the increment to an average of 15 percent. This amount will vary among different workers, from 13 percent to 15 percent.”
CSTU secretary general Madalitso Njolomole also said they expect their members to accept the agreed amount. He added that they are also aware that government will implement another pay rise in April this year.
“The increase will start to reflect on civil servants January  salaries, with arrears to be paid from November, 2023,” said Njolomole.
GNT chairperson Charles Kalemba confirmed the agreed adjustment.
He said government has the welfare of its workers at heart, adding that civil servants’ remuneration will rise as the country’s economy improves.
“The government was never under any pressure. That is what negotiations are all about. A circular with all the details about the increment will be issued by the Department of Human Resource Management and Development on the 4th of January,” Kalemba, who is also commissioner for the Department of Disaster Management Affairs, said.
However, Nonm president Shouts Simeza said yesterday they are not aware of any agreement as Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) led talks with the Ministry of Health are due to start next week.
“We do not accept any agreement as of now. The MHRC was engaged to lead the negotiations with the ministry. The discussions are scheduled to start on the first day that the government resumes work,” he said.
On his part, Paum president Solomon Chomba also acknowledged the scheduled discussions with MHRC, stressing that they will not accept the 15 percent adjustment.
He said they are demanding a minimum increase of 22 percent and a maximum of 40 percent, adding that health workers deserve special treatment.
Said Chomba: “The health sector is different from the way teachers work, for example. We work 24/7 and look after people’s lives. Globally, health workers are given special treatment.”
He said they would accept a 15 percent pay increase only on condition that their professional allowance is increased and attached to their salaries.
“The professional allowance was introduced in 2002 and up to now, it has remained at K1 800. We want the allowance raised to K45 000 and it must be attached to the salary,” said Chomba.
MHRC executive secretary Habiba Osman acknowledged receipt of the invitation to lead the negotiations.
“I cannot speak on salaries because we have not yet started the discussions,” she said.