Civil servants are demanding a 71 percent salary increment in the 2013/14 National Budget whose implementation will start on July 1, saying they are ready to take a radical approach to the matter.
The civil servants argue that the nine percent salary increment they have been given in the new budget is a “mockery” to workers in the public sector.
Speaking during a press conference on Monday, Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) general secretary Dennis Kalekeni said government risks creating chaos in the civil service if it fails to give them the 71 percent agreed by the technical committee set up to review civil servants’ salaries with the Government Negotiating Team (GNT).
If effected, Kalekeni said, the 71 percent salary increment would take the government wage bill to about K142 billion from the initial K97 billion.
Said Kalekeni: “Civil servants are waiting for the July salary increment.
The five to 61 percent salary increment had so many disparities and it gave a consolation to the unions that in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) we signed with government, there was a clause that, in July, there will be another salary revision.
“Because of that consolation, we were able to surmount the pressure from civil servants who wanted to go on strike. This is the only reason we did not allow our members to go on strike.”
He said after signing of the MoU on the five to 61 percent salary increment, negotiations between civil servants unions and government started well until they agreed on the 71 percent salary hike and upward revision of allowances, but said the unions were later surprised to learn that government had only added about nine percent to the wage bill in the new budget.
Kalekeni said out of the K131 billion allocated to the wage bill, K4.57 billion is apportioned to oversight institutions, K3 billion to salary arrears and K1.39 billion is meant for promotions and new recruitment in government, all adding up to K8.96 billion in total.
The civil servants’ demands come at a time all public sector unions have planned to march to Parliament on Thursday to force the House enact a law on the formation of the Public Service Remuneration Board (PSRB) during the current meeting.
Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU) president Eliah Kamphinda Banda said government already prepared a bill for PSRB, saying what remains is just to enact it into law as he said the process on the same started in 2006.
When contacted yesterday, Minister of Finance Ken Lipenga refused to comment on whether government can accommodate the civil servants’ 71 percent salary increment demands in the 2013/14 National Budget currently under deliberation in the House.n