Secondary School Teachers Dump TUM
In a twist of events, teachers from the country’s public Secondary Schools have founded their own Trade Union called Secondary School Teachers Union (SSTU), breaking away from the teachers’ mother body Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM).
The new teacher’s union registered with the Registrar of Trade Unions and Employers’ Organisations on April 15 is aimed at promoting the rights and welfare of teachers in public secondary schools in the country.
SSTU President Pilirani Kapolo told us the idea came after noticing that secondary school teachers’ issues were being neglected by TUM.
Said Kapolo, “we have had issues concerning us (teachers) in the secondary sub-sector but those issues were not being presented well. We thought maybe it was because TUM was having an overload.”
He added that they are currently seeking consent from secondary school teachers who will form SSTU membership.
All public secondary school teachers are welcome to join the Union. They should sign membership forms.
However, Kapolo said public secondary school teachers have the liberty to remain TUM members.
Reacting to this, TUM President Willy Malimba told us that secondary school teachers have the right to establish their own union.
“I cannot comment much on the development because as TUM we have not received any communication on that, however, the teachers (public secondary school teachers) have the right to do that,” Malimba said.
But education expert Benedicto Kondowe while agreeing with Malimba, fears the development will weaken the voice of teachers in Malawi.
“If the current arrangement within TUM had lapses that ensured that the secondary sector was not well represented, there was an opportunity to inform TUM to ensure that it is addressing the interest of all the stakeholders within the TUM membership.”
The secondary school teachers are within their rights to form a separate union, but this will mean that teachers will lack strength to speak with one voice,” said Kondowe.
Recently TUM has been engaged in battles with government on teachers Covid-19 risk allowances, which has seen teachers boycotting work.