Government says it intends to change the law during the next sitting of parliament so that striking employees should not get paid their salaries the period they are on sit in.
Minister of Education, Science and Technology Emmanuel Fabiano said this in parliament in response to concerns over the prolonged closure of Chancellor College, the constituent college of the University of Malawi.
“This is indeed unfortunate. We intend to change the Employment Act and Labour Relations Act so that when employees withdraw labour, they should not be paid,” said the minister.
He said the strikes prolong because the striking employees get paid whether they work or not and so not care how long the strike can take.
“This is working well in other countries. That is the only way to stop prolonged strikes,” he said.
Students at Chancellor College have not reported for classes for close to six months now after lecturers withdrew labour to force the government for equal work, equal pay with the University of Malawi salary structures. They say their colleagues at College of Medicine get higher salaries than other colleges.
The spate of strikes has hit Mzuzu University and Malawi University of Science and Technology.
Fabiano said the government has assured the striking employees that the salaries would be harmonised, saying workers in other constituent colleges have returned to work after the assurances, only the Chancellor College workers are stubborn.
MP Nyalonje said students in Malawi public schools spend much time outside campus than in campus because of strikes.
He said Malawi’s reputation abroad has been severely so much damaged because of this that Malawians with University of Malawi degrees find it difficult to get jobs.
Other members of parliament also expressed concern over the prolonged strikes saying this also affect foreign students who pay higher fees than their Malawians counterparts, saying most of them have now withdrawn to study in universities outside the country where there is discipline.
The state has last week obtained a court injunction stopping Judiciary workers for going on strike.