Junior officers in the Judiciary have given their employers a notice of their intention to down tools in the next seven days from yesterday in demand for outstanding housing allowances.
This follows the lapse of 21 days which the employees gave on March 20, 2017 through an internal memo they presented to Chairperson of the Judiciary Conditions of Service for the Minister of Finance to approve their housing allowances.
However, after the 21 days Thursday the disgruntled employees are still eager to hear from the Finance Minister on whether he has considered them on the housing allowances as is the case with the judicial officers comprising Judges, Magistrates and the Registrar.
Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula described the decision by the Ministry of Finance not to respond to the grievances by the Judiciary members of staff as unfortunate saying if they go on with the proposed strike, it will be the ordinary Malawians seeking justice who will suffer.
“Remember in 2012 the same thing happened and the strike lasted for about 90 days, a lot of people suffered. When the Judiciary members of staff go on strike, no cases will be heard in the court. However, when it happens it will not be our wish, we will be forced by the circumstances.
“You may recall that before giving the 21 days notice, we reminded our employer of the same and we received no response. Today (Thursday) the 21 days have also lapsed so after serving the seven days’ notice that we are going on strike, members will do so,” Mvula said.
The seven days is provided for in the judiciary employees’ conditions.
“It is our prayer that within the seven days, the minister will communicate to us on the way forward. We are hoping that he will advise us on what to do so that the strike does not take place,” he said
The employees through their memo written on March 20, indicated that they are aware that Judiciary has funds amounting to K240 million in excess from personal emoluments that can be used to pay for their housing allowances.
Ministry of Finance officials including spokesperson Alfred Kutengule and Principal Secretary Ben Botolo could not be reached for comment.