State universities’ employees threaten to down tools

State universities employees have threatened to embark on industrial action if their working conditions are not improved in the next two weeks.

In a letter dated March 16 addressed to the chairpersons of Zimbabwe State Universities’ Councils and copied to Zimbabwe State Universities’ Vice Chancellors, Zimbabwe State Universities’ Registrars and the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, the Zimbabwe State Universities Joint Council said they are intending to go on strike over salaries.

“This is a 14-day notice of intention to embark on a strike by the Zimbabwe Universities and Allied Workers Union (ZUAWU) and the Zimbabwe State Universities Union of Academics (ZISUUA), hereby referred to as the Zimbabwe State Universities Joint Council, on behalf of all State Universities’ workers,” reads the letter signed by Readyforward Dube and Alois Muzvuwe as representatives.

The universities workers said the notice has been necessitated by salary related issues which include their demand for the purchasing power of salaries to be reverted to the level of July 2018.

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

“The employer must urgently redress the salary disparity created in October 2019 (NDI/DI). Please note that a conciliation hearing on these same issues was supposed to be held on the 15th of January 2021 in Harare. The hearing was postponed till further notice due to the Covid-19 necessitated lockdown. Because of the time lapse, from our initial notice up to now, we therefore resubmit a fresh notice of intention to embark on a strike.”

Meanwhile, the government has since approved fees increases of up to over 200 percent for universities, following proposals by tertiary institutions.

The development will see students paying between ZWL$25 000 and ZWL$40 000 per beginning next semester up from an average of ZWL$9 000.

Source: Centre for Innovation and Technology (CITE)

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