Colleges were yesterday plunged into chaos with lecturers downing tools in protest over pathetic salaries.
When NewsDay visited Harare Polytechnic one of the oldest colleges in the country, students were milling around while lecturers said they were complying with the directive from College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe (Colaz) to engage in the industrial action to push for an increment.
At Belvedere Teachers’ College, there was still confusion on which course of action to take as students were said to be writing examinations.
Sources said there was an agreement that only those students writing examinations would be attended to.
Colaz president David Dzatsunga said out of the 28 colleges around the country, close to 20 had engaged in industrial action and expected the rest to have joined in by today.
“Our people have taken hid of our call to press government for a pay rise that is above the Poverty Datum Line (PDL). In Masvingo, Midlands and other parts of Bulawayo and Manicaland province, people are not working save for two colleges in Bulawayo,” he said.
Dzatsunga said they wanted commitment on the part of government and would not go back to work until their concerns are addressed.
The lecturers, currently earning around $200, are demanding $500 as salaries.
Most of them are now charging students extra fees for extra lessons.
However, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association which is opposing the industrial action said the move was not political.
“We are not an appendage of the government or any political party and we have not formed an alliance with anyone. When we cooperate with the State, it’s because our minds and objectives meet,” said Sifiso Ndlovu, Zimta chief executive officer.
Zimta is at loggerheads with other teachers’ organisations, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe and the Teachers Union of Zimbabwe who called for the strike.