By Bulawayo Correspondent
LECTURERS at the State-run National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo this week stopped conducting lectures citing serious incapacitation and in fear of collapsing in front of students because of hunger.
The National University of Science and Technology Educators Association (NUSTEDA) on 25 February 2020 wrote a letter to the university’s Vice Chancellor Professor Mqhele Dlodlo informing the university about the industrial action.
The letter, which was signed by the NUSTEDA’s president, Alois Muzumwe, is also copied to the NUST’s Pro-Vice Chancellor Research and Academic Affairs Professor Yogeshkumar Naika and the university’s Registrar.
“NUSTEDA officially declares incapacitation on behalf of all NUST teaching staff. NUST teaching staff will not be able to report for duty from the 26th of February 2020 until they have been capacitated to do so,” the lecturers stated in their letter.
“Note that this is not a strike. Lecturers want to report for duty, but they cannot afford to do so.”
The lecturers cited the current high cost of living which they said had made it impossible for them to survive, let alone report for duty.
“It goes without saying that salary increments affected by many institutions from January 2020 to February 2020, have since resulted in a situation where prices of commodities have substantially shot up. This coupled with exorbitant school fees increments have resulted in lecturers struggling to report for duty,” reads part of the letter.
NUSTEDA also bemoaned inability by its members to borrow transport money.
“At today’s NUSTEDA general meeting, lecturers bemoaned an inability to borrow money for transport whilst at the same time they are borrowing money for food, rentals and other obligations. Lecturers also indicated that they cannot work on empty stomachs lest they faint in front of students,” further stated the letter.
NUSTEDA also pleaded with the university’s authorities not to victimise or punish their members.
“The union therefore pleads with you not to victimise or punish people who are genuinely failing to attend to their duties due to this incapacitation,”
When NewZimbabwe.com visited the university Thursday, some students were seen milling around the campus with no lectures taking place.
“Our lecturers did not attend lectures today. We are worried because very soon we will be writing our final examinations. We hope that this issue will be resolved as soon as possible so that the lectures can resume,” said a final year student in Journalism and Media Studies.