18 October 2018

Malawi: Strike Paralyses University of Malawi, Students Worried

Photo: Nyasa Times
The sit-in by University of Malawi (Unima) support staff has left students stranded.

The sit-in by University of Malawi (Unima) support staff has left students stranded as some of the key facilities have been sealed and the students have expressed dismay that the development is going to negatively affect their studies.

The bone of contention is the 10 percent salary increment and arrears. overnment approved the 10 percent increment for public universities' employees but University of Malawi Council has not complied with the directive.

The strike is at at Chancellor College (Chanco), The Polytechnic other constituent colleges under Unima namely, Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) and College of Medicine (CoM).

The Polytechnic Student Union (PSU) vice president Goodson Kumwenda and Students Union of Chancellor College (Succ) president Raphael Nedi expressed worry with the development as they are denied critical services such as access to the Library, laboratories.

University of Malawi Students Union (UMSU) President, Griefson Gaven also said their studies "have been put to a halt."

He said with the closure of libraries, laboratories and clinics, the student feel that " we are being denied our right to education."

However, Gaven said the UMSU was in the process of engaging the University Council to make sure that the two sides reach a compromise on the issue at hand.

"We are also engaging with the University Workers Trade Union (UWTU) to resolve the differences amicably and as soon as possible with the University Council so that all the suspended services should resume," he said.

UWTU Secretary General, James Khando claimed that the issue has been outstanding for a long time because of failed efforts for reconciliation with management of the University, adding that UNIMA Council paid the 10 per cent increment only to academic and administrative members excluding the support staff.

UNIMA Registrar, Benedicto Malunga blamed UWTU leadership for proceeding with the strike despite the discussions still underway.

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