Auxilia Katongomara Chronicle Reporter
LECTURERS at the country’s state universities have gone on strike in protest over unpaid bonuses and January salaries and have demanded to meet President Mugabe over their plight.The lecturers and non-teaching staff have not yet received their 2014 bonuses despite the rest of the civil servants having received theirs last month.
The countrywide job action has resulted in the suspension of lectures at Nust, Bindura, University of Zimbabwe, Lupane, Gwanda, Great Zimbabwe, Chinhoyi State Universities until government comes up with a position regarding their bonuses and January salaries.
Yesterday, the university staff held a meeting at the National University of Science and Technology where they resolved to down tools with immediate effect.
In a letter addressed to all chairpersons of State councils, Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development, the lecturers warned that in future each time salaries are delayed they will immediately stop teaching.
“Zimbabwe State university workers are incapacitated to report for their normal duties with immediate effect. In the future, the workers will not report for duty if their salaries are not paid by the end of the month. The government or employer must pay our 2014 bonuses forthwith,” declared the staff.
The lecturers and non-teaching staff also demanded a fixed pay date from their employer.
“As State universities, we demand a fixed pay date, as it is the case with all the other government-funded institutions and to seek an audience with the Chancellor, His Excellency Cde R.G Mugabe,” read the letter.
The lecturers said under normal circumstances they receive their bonuses by the end of November.
The letter was signed by Zimbabwe State Universities Union of Academics (ZISUUA) national president, who is also the National University of Science, and Technology Educators Association president Alois Muzvuwe.
“Following a meeting held by worker representatives, both teaching and non-teaching at Nust . . . the following observations were made: that the employer is deliberately neglecting its duty of paying employee salaries as and when they are due,” read the letter.
They said they have also observed that it has been a long-time practice that university workers receive bonuses by year end and that the rest of the government-funded institutions have since received their January salaries and bonuses.
The observations according to the letter prompted them to down tools with immediate effect.
Deputy Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Cde Godfrey Gandawa said he was still in the dark over the job action.
“I’m not aware of the job action, I was at Parliament the whole day and I’m just getting into office now,” said Cde Gandawa.
Permanent Secretary Dr Washington Mbizvo also indicated that he had not been furnished with details of the meeting.
Minister Oppah Muchinguri was not reachable on her mobile phone.
Lecturers said a delegation from the Zimbabwe State Universities Union of Academics (ZISUUA) on Friday met officials from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development but talks were deadlocked.