Government has rejected the resolution reached by Teachers Association of Malawi [TUM], Ministry of Education and the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Education, Social and Community Affairs, that teachers be provided with appropriate personal protective equipment [PPEs] in cash-costed packages as a once- off payment to cover the next three  months.
On 8th March 2021, the three institutions met at the Parliament Building in Lilongwe as teachers are at risk due to the Covid-19 pandemic as per the 13th July 2020 recommendation by the Ministry of Education Taskforce that they should be provided with a cash equivalent to the PPEs that government intended to procure.
It has now proved to be a fact that before TUM and Government went into discussions over teachers risk allowances, government had already procured face masks and cartons of tablet of soaps to be distributed to schools and teachers as evidenced with all teachers in Lilongwe Rural West and other Education Divisions in the country have been provided with face masks.
In a letter to TUM leadership dated 24th March 2021 with copies to the Secretary for Education and Co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce Committee on Covid-19 signed by Hon. Brainnex Kaise MP, Parliamentary Committee on Education Chairperson reads …”In this regard, I have the honour to inform you that the Presidential Taskforce Committee on Covid-19 did not approve that teachers should be provided with appropriate PPEs in Cash-Costed Packages, a once -off payment to cover the next three  months.”
Meanwhile, the Teachers Union of Malawi [TUM] has filed a notice of teachers intention to resume the nation-wide strike in form of Stay-Away due to government’s failure to provide the appropriate PPEs in Cash-Costed Package for a period of three  months as settled on 8th March, 2021.
…”In view of the decision by government, TUM is giving a-seven  day notice of our intention to resume the industrial action that was suspended as a consequence of the mutual understanding dated 8th March, 2021…,’’ reads TUM’s letter in part addressed to the Secretary for Education and Local Government respectively.
In the letter signed by TUM President Willie Malimba, TUM is warning government that once the Stay-Away resumes, it shall only be called off after all the public primary and secondary school teachers plus TTC lecturers have been provided with the appropriate PPEs in Cash-Costed Package as a once-off payment covering three months.
The letter says TUM leadership remains committed to continued dialogue with government within the notice period of seven  days before calling on all teachers in Malawi to resume a nation-wide industrial action.
By; Vincent Gunde