By Mbekezeli Ncube
ZIMBABWE State university staff has written to its employer informing the latter of its intention to go on strike in the next two weeks.
The workers, speaking under the umbrella Zimbabwe State Universities Joint Council (ZSUJC), said in their letter that they were earning poor wages and were incapacitated.
ZSUJC is made up of the Zimbabwe Universities and Allied Workers Union (ZUAWU) as well as the Zimbabwe State Universities Union of Academics (ZISUUA).
The letter was directed to chairpersons of Zimbabwe State Universities’ Councils and copied to Zimbabwe State Universities’ Vice Chancellors, Zimbabwe State Universities’ Registrars and the Public Service ministry.
It was co-signed by the presidents of the council, Readyforward Dube and Alois Muzvuwe on Tuesday.
In the letter, ZSUJC is giving the state a 14-day ultimatum to meet their demands for wage increase and improved working conditions shot of which they would go on strike.
“This is a 14-day notice of intention to embark on a strike by the Zimbabwe Universities and Allied Workers Union and the Zimbabwe State Universities Union of Academics, hereby referred to as the Zimbabwe State Universities Joint Council on behalf of all State Universities’ workers,” reads part of the letter.
“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 strike.”
The group wants salaries returned to the level of July 2018 by employers while making simultaneous steps to ensure the attainment of regional level salary scales as per the agreement of 2010.
The group also demanded urgent redress on a wage disparity created in October 2019 (NDI/DI).
In November, last year Zimbabwe State Universities Union members also vowed to down tools at all government-run varsities citing poor working conditions and salaries.
Zimbabwe has 12 state universities countrywide.
They include University of Zimbabwe, National University of Science and Technology, Midlands State University, Great Zimbabwe University, Gwanda State University, and Lupane State University.
Some of the universities have re-opened mainly for outstanding examination classes after a long holiday thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.