Malawi: Agricultural Extension Workers Down Tools As Aviation Staff Give Strike Notice

Agricultural extension workers have gone on strike, demanding that the government effect promotions, hardship allowance and provide good houses, among others.

Agriculture Technicians at the Civic Centre to deliver their petition

Reports from across the country indicate that the extension workers are not working and in some areas have gone to their respective councils to deliver petitions containing their grievances.

One of the striking extension worker Patrick Chisakasa complained that it takes many years before they are promoted.

"We also need motorcycles. In this era, we cannot be using bicycles when going to the field. Even if they say we would be deducted from our salaries, we would agree provided we have motorcycles for field work," he said.

He some civil servants from other ministries and departments get hardship allowance when posted in rural areas, saying the same is not the case in the ministry of Agriculture.

There was no immediate comment from government officials.

Meanwhile, government workers working in the civil aviation department have written the chief secretary to notify him with their intention to go on strike.

In the letter, the civil aviation workers are demanding protective gear against covid-19, promotions, among others.

They say that airports are still operational since they handle cargo of medicine and materials for coronavirus but the aviation workers themselves are not protected.

"We have also been handling repatriation flights organised by different embassies as well as mercy flights or ambulances which expose officers to greater risk of contracting the disease," says the letter in part.

The aviation officers are also demanding overtime allowance, saying they work during odd hours after the official knocking time.

Spokesperson for the ministry of Transport and Public Works James Chakwera said he has seen the letter but could not comment since it has been addressed to OPC not to his ministry.

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