May 8, 2021

TUM makes U-turn, strike on for risk allowances

The Teachers’ Union of Malawi [TUM], has made a U-turn from the agreement it signed with the Ministry of Education, Thursday calling off the stay-away, announcing to its members that the strike continues until Government addresses their Covid-19 risk allowance concerns which is on its table.

The Ministry of Education engaged the TUM leadership to resolve the differences so that teachers are back to school and on Thursday, teachers across the country learnt with shock that their Union President, Willie Malimba, penned his signature calling off the industrial action without the risk allowance issue addressed.

The development forced 34 District TUM Chairpersons across the country to write the Union President, Willie Malimba, and the National Executive Committee expressing their dissatisfaction with the decision to call off the stay away.

In a letter dated 4th March 2021, jointly signed by teachers, they said the decision was reached not in the interest of teachers in Malawi as a whole, saying the memorandum signed between the Ministry of Education and Union National Executive Committee does not contain and address the main issue of risk allowance.

…….”We are ordering the Union National Executive Committee [UNEC] to withdraw the signed Memorandum of Understanding [MoU ]today the 4th of March 2021, failing to comply with this order, TUM UNEC must resign from their positions within one months, followed by fresh elections,’’……reads the letter in part.

And in a statement dated 5th March 2021 signed by TUM President, Willie Malimba, TUM has given Government conditions so that all the teachers in Malawi must resume work urging Government to provide a K35,000 risk allowance monthly for every 6 months saying this will be subject to review to see how it is working.

But, speaking in one of the local radio station on Thursday after he put to sign his signature calling off the stay away, TUM President Willie Malimba said the stay away was called off because of pressure he was receiving from the Secretary for Education and Commissioner of Labour to sign a letter to call off the strike to pave way for discussions, but the signed document had no clause of risk allowance.

Malimba said he was ambushed by Government to sign the document adding that the teachers in Malawi should understand and stand with him as he stood firm throughout the strike by teachers demanding for risk allowances.

By Vincent Gunde

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