Education impasse, government dates TUM over risk allowances

Teachers Union of Malawi is expected to meet government officials on Tuesday after government failed to address the issue of risk allowances before schools were set for reopening on Monday February 22, 2021.

The impasse in the education sector has attracted mixed reactions from stakeholders as some quarters want the government to give the striking teachers risk allowances for working amidst the covid-19 scare, as is the case with public health care workers

While others feel the teachers should not be paid for doing their job, adding there is no scientific explanation to their demand under the public health guidelines for covid-19.

Ironically, the teachers are among the first people to be inoculated with covid-19 jab it arrives this month before the mass vaccination campaign according to the minister of education Agnes NyaLonje who sits in the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19.

But speaking with one of the local radio stations (Timveni radio) on Monday morning president for the Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) Willy Malimba said teachers were advised not to report for work again as TUM secretariat was still in talks with government officials on their three concerns which were partly responded to.

“Teachers are still exercising their right to stay away from work until government addresses their concerns fully. We presented three concerns ranging from recruitment of teachers, provision on Personal Protective Equipment and risk allowances for teachers,” said Malimba.

Malimba added “It is unfortunate that government has decided to partially address two issues (recruitment of teachers and provision of PPEs) leaving the contentious issues of risk allowances forcing our members to stay away from work, since they are also at risk of contracting corona virus.”

Meanwhile Malimba says government has invited them to a round table discussion on Tuesday where they anticipate that their bosses will respond positively to their grievances which have prolonged the covid-19 school closure to over six weeks now.

Responding questions from members of the press on Monday morning during the presidential brief held virtually, presidential press secretary Brian Banda said president Chakwera is not happy with the stand-off but was quick to point out that the matter has been referred to the presidential task force on covid-19 for guidance as regards to who is at risk and not in as far as scientific understanding of the pandemic is concerned