Armed police officers on Monday teargassed striking civil servants at Capital Hill in Lilongwe to disperse them from blocking the main gate to the government seat.
The civil servants, who last week had a similar incident, were blocked from coming closer to the main gate.
They, however, insisted on going ahead with their plan to draw close to the gate, a thing which forced one of the many police officers at the gate to shoot in the air.
The striking civil servants were infuriated by the action and they began shouting at the police officers, who then responded by firing teargas at the civil servants, dispersing them in the process.
In an interview later, leader of the organising committee of the stay away at Capital Hill, Joseph Mdambo, expressed disappointment with what had happened.
" Everyday [ since Monday last week] we have been marching. We have not been violent. We are just civil servants, expressing our grievances to our employer.
"We are disappointed with what the police did. We just fled. We did not want to retaliate. This is our base and we know where we can get stones to hit back. We have been peaceful, and we want to remain as such," Mdambo said.
Meanwhile, Civil Servants Trade Union (CSTU) has said plans are at an advanced stage to march to the Office of The President and Cabinet (OPC).
"We have planned to march on Wednesday this week. Many people working in government will join us. We are finalising our preparations for the march. We are optimistic that government will finally address our grievances," said CSTU president Eliah Kamphinda.
Yesterday, CSTU got a boost in their quest for better conditions of service when Teachers Union of Malawi (TUM) declared that with effect from today, teachers will be part of the strike.
In a joint statement released yesterday, signed by Kamphinda and TUM's Secretary General Denis Kalekeni, the two unions have agreed to work together in organising a march scheduled for tomorrow.
The two unions ironed out their differences at a meeting they had yesterday.
"As a result of this development, all teachers in the public sector are with effect from Tuesday, 19 February 2013 joining the strike," read some of the agreements in the statement.
Meanwhile, civil servants in the Northern Region have expressed outrage at the lack of an approval from their representatives tojoin the stay away in response to calls by their parent union, CSTU.
In an interview yesterday, CSTU Mzuzu chapter president Changaranang'ombe Munyenyembe said those interested in joining can go ahead, stressing that what has delayed the action is lack of official communication from CSTU.
"Civil servants in the Northern Region are ready to join in the stay away and they will join immediately they are told to do so. What is delaying is the lack of communication from the [CSTU] executive," Munyenyembe said.
Meanwhile, Consumers Association of Malawi (Cama) said they were happy with the civil servants' action.
CSTU has a list of 10 grievances which they want government to address. Among them is the harmonisation of salaries between the mainstream public service and other government departments receiving higher salaries.
Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu yesterday asked the civil servants to stop the strike and return to the negotiation table.
"As government, we are ready for negotiations. There was a time civil servants were demanding salary increment of about sixty percent, after discussions there was an agreement of 21 percent, therefore discussions will help us to get a solution and not strike."
He said the government appreciates the concerns raised by the people and that it is doing all it could to bring back the economy on track.
On the clash between the police and the civil servants, Kunkuyu just said: "Government will ensure that every citizen is protected."