Blantyre, Malawi - The Malawi government has agreed to raise public workers' salaries by 60 per cent thereby ending their two-week-old strike, PANA reported here Thursday.
Civil Service Trade Union (CSTU) president Eliah Kamphinda Banda, told a press conference in the capital, Lilongwe, that his team had agreed with the government negotiating team to end the strike.
Banda said: 'a new salary structure has been agreed', and he called on all civil servants to return to work on Friday.
According to the agreement, the lowest paid civil servants will get a 61 per cent pay hike while the highest paid have been given a 5 per cent salary increase.
The civil servants say last May's 49 per cent devaluation of the Malawi currency, the kwacha, has eaten into their buying power.
Earlier in the day, police in Lilongwe, and the commercial capital, Blantyre, used teargas to break up demonstrations by hundreds of school children.
The students, from public primary and secondary schools, have gone two weeks without attending classes following the public workers' strike.
'We are marching to State House because we are not learning. We are all school children, we are leading each other because we are tired of not attending classes for two weeks! We are supposed to sit for exams on 15 March, how are we going to pass the exams since we are not attending classes?' said 15-year-old Ella Chilenje in Blantyre.
President Joyce Banda left the country for a summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, early Thursday.
Police turned away the students, numbering over 100, a few metres from the palace gates.
Other students in other parts of the city were less peaceful. They broke into shops and looted goods, some stoned vehicles.
Police spokesman Nicholas Gondwa said police suspected that some thugs infiltrated the students' strike.
'We haven't arrested anybody but we suspect thugs hijacked the students' demonstration,' he said.