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University lecturers go on strike over low pay

By Mutsa Makuvaza

LECTURERS at the country’s sixteen State universities have downed tools effective from today saying Government has neglected to upgrade their salaries which have lost value whilst services, utilities and basic commodities are quoted in United State dollars.

The salaries, who are members of the Zimbabwe Universities Union, say they met last Wednesday, 18 November 2020, in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education Innovation, Science and Technology Development’s boardroom to find common ground with their employer and resolved to go on strike afterwards as it emerged that their plight was not going to be addressed amicably.

A statement issued by the lecturers drawn from all the State universities, which the Zimbabwe Voice is in possession of, says that Government has “neglected the agreement to meet the regional parity level salaries for state universities.”

The statement adds: “The state universities employees have been denied to exercise their right to negotiate as enshrined in the Labour Act. The State universities salaries have lost value and have been eroded whilst services, utilities and basic commodities are quoted in United State Dollars or foreign currency.”

Among their demands, the university lecturers want the purchasing power of State universities employees’ salaries restored to the level of July 2018 salaries.

“The employees demand that the employer makes urgent steps to attain the regional level salary scales as per the agreement of 2010.

“The employer must urgently redress the salary disparity created in October 2019. We are therefore giving notice to engage in a collective job action. The notice to strike is with effect from 23 November 2020,” said the statement.

Zimbabwe’s State universities included the University of Zimbabwe, National University of Science and Technology, Zimbabwe Open University, Great Zimbabwe University, Harare Institute of Technology, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Gwanda State University, Midlands State University, Bindura University of Science Education, Marondera University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology, Lupane State University, and Manicaland State University of Applied Sciences.

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Representatives from all these universities appended their signatures to the statement.

“The salaries buying power has been eroded and as a result, universities staff are poorly remunerated. The Union has therefore resolved to exercise the right of workers as enshrined in the labour Act 28:01, Section 104,” said the university teachers. – Zimbabwe Voice

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