Blantyre, February 22: By 08:30 am, people had already thronged the Government office complex entrance in Blantyre.
Most dressed in casual. Women in jean trousers and skirts, men in t-shirts, golf shirts and others is caps.
Many of them in groups of four to five people mainly discussing what transpired during the discussions between Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) and Government representatives on Thursday evening.
One thing was for sure, the government workers had high expectations on their salary adjustments just by the news that the lowest paid will have a 61 percent increment come end March.
Whilst there was this mood outside, the office complex was quiet; the dummy coffin which was being paraded to represent mourning civil servants was lying at the main entrance with a few police officers around.
The main gates were still wearing branches of trees with the back entrances still sealed.
Then all workers were told to gather at the entrance to hear official communication from union representatives.
They jokingly said since they have been mourning from February 11, Friday February 22 was the day for ‘kusesa’ (winding up).
The civil servants sang songs of praise for one of their main demands had been met.
The joy reached its climax when the union representatives led by CSTU Regional Chairperson, Sephas Sakala arrived.
Three quarters of them went to welcome him chanting ‘atcheya!’ ‘atcheya!’ and there after danced at the car park before addressing the curious employees.
Malawi News Agency established that most workers were eager to have their new salary with most of them saying it is better to have an addition since the economic hardship is getting worse.
“Half a loaf is better than none. I look forward to July since I will have my arrears and a new salary,” said one employee who immediately after telling this to Mana started chanting ‘Wachepa Bonya koma nkhuku ziona lero..’ literally translated we no longer deserve bonya but chicken.
Sakala told the gathering that the lowest paid who was getting K18, 000 will from March be receiving K29, 000 per month.
“Each and every grade has gotten an adjustment and the highest paid will get a 5 percent increment,” he said adding that this is just the beginning of the journey into improving the working conditions of civil servants.
Sakala pointed out things are bad in the civil service because their issues have been neglected for a long time since the workers were taken for granted and regarded as toothless.
“There are many other things which need to be reviewed and government has assured us that we will sort them out together. We are meeting again on March 19 to discuss the increment we will get in July,” he said adding that government was planning to give a five percent increment in the 2013/14 financial year without consulting the CSTU.
In his remarks, CSTU district chairperson, Fredrick Bonyonga applauded civil servants for the solidarity shown since February 11 saying nothing could have been achieved without it asking the civil servants to continue with the fighting spirit considering that the civil service has so many needs.
He told the government workers, who failed to march on Wednesday that their planned marching was postponed since they have reached a compromise with government.
However, the grievances petition which was supposed to be given to the District Commissioner for Blantyre, Charles Makanga was still presented through his representative on Friday symbolizing the end of the strike.
Meanwhile, after the union address at the centre of the building car park, most workers looked not to be in the mood to work whilst some other officers said they would start afresh on Monday. To some extent the office complex looks as if it is a holiday.
The dame coffin has since been dismantled and kept for future use, according to CSTU officials.