20 February 2013

Malawi: Striking Workers Threaten to Close Airport - Report

Photo: Lindsay Mgbor/Department for International Development
The strike has increased pressure on President Joyce Banda (File Photo)

Cape Town — Striking civil servants in Malawi have threatened government with the closure of the country's main airport in the capital, Lilongwe, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

"If government does not respond positively to our demands, civil aviation workers will join the strike, which means all airports will be closed," Eliah Kamphinda Banda, president of the Civil Service Trade Union, is reported as saying on Tuesday.

The workers have been on a week-long strike, demanding a 65% wage increase to oppose the inflation rate after the devaluation of the nation's currency.

However, the government has called on strikers to return to work - promising a series of negotiations with the striking workers, reports AFP.

At Kamuzu airport, workers have also downed tools and MaraviPost.com reports say that passengers are stranded.

The strike has increased pressure on President Joyce Banda, Africa's second female president, who entered into office in 2012 after Bingu wa Mutharika's death.

Banda has been working to repair relations with key donors, including the International Monetary Fund, and pursuing tough economic reforms.

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