UZ lecturers cite incapacitation, join teachers strike

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

UNIVERSITY of Zimbabwe (UZ) employees, including lectures, have advised the university’s management that they will not report for duty with immediate effect citing incapacitation.

The workers under the Association of University Teachers (AUT-UZ), University Teachers Association (UTA-UZ) and University Technicians Association (UTA –UZ) last week wrote to the university’s vice chancellor advising him of their decision to strike.

“As a follow up to the works council meeting held on 20 January 2022 at which we presented our members’ deteriorating welfare, we held a meeting as staff association representatives to reflect on the continued erosion of the real value of our earnings,” read the letter sent to the university’s administration.

“The lowest paid employee at the university earns a net wage of ZW$21 000, meanwhile according to ZimStats data published in December 2021, the total consumption poverty line based on the cheapest food and non-food basket was ZW$8 009 per person per month or ZW$48 054 per month for a family of six.

“In view of the above factors, we would like to let you know that our members are with immediate effect not able to come to work because of incapacitation. As we stated at the works council meeting, UZ employees are willing and ready to contribute towards the realisation of education. This is possible when employees’  welfare and rights are taken care of.”

The workers said they were now failing to meet their everyday expenses due to the poor salaries which they are earning.

Added the letter: “When schools opened early this month, schools fees, the prices of stationery, fuel , transport fares and other increased. This further diminished the value of our wages and consequently our members are severely incapacitated.

“Most UZ employees cannot meet their obligations from one pay day to the next. As we speak, employees cannot afford transport fuel or bus fares to come to work daily.”

The workers also revealed that they have resorted to one meal per day because they cannot afford launch.

According to the consumer of Zimbabwe (CCZ), a family of six needs ZW$72 967 for basic expenses every month.

Teachers have also not been reporting for work since schools opened on February 7 citing similar reasons.