Varsity workers declare incapacitation

Workers at State universities have declared incapacitation and threatened to return to work only after government reviews their salaries.
Institutions of higher learning were set to reopen on October 5.

BY LORRAINE MUROMO

But the Zimbabwe State University Staff Associations (ZSUSA) yesterday said engagements with government through the Higher Education minister Amon Murwira had yielded no positive results, leaving them with no choice, but to down tools.

In a letter released on Wednesday, the employees said they were struggling to take care of their families and live normal lives.

“Prices of basic commodities have risen to unprecedented levels and most shops are demanding foreign currency, which we are not earning. Zimbabwe dollar prices are beyond the reach of many,” they said in a letter, jointly signed by ZSUSA president Readyforward Dube and the Zimbabwe State Universities’ Union of Academics president Alois Muzvuwe. The university staff unions have resolved that the employees would not be fully operational until their grievances were addressed by their employer.

“In light of the above developments, Zimbabwe State University Staff Association representatives as mandated by their members resolved that all State university employees are incapacitated to report for duty with immediate effect.”

The workers said they had a meeting with Murwira in March this year over salaries, but the minister said they should be either patient with government or pack their bags.

“He showed disinterest in issues brought to him. He reiterated that State university workers should exercise patience, trust and collegiality or pack their bags,” the workers said.
Zimbabwe National Students Union spokesperson Donald Marevanhema also issued a statement in solidarity with the university workers.

“Inasmuch as we want the lecturers to go to work and report for duty on time and serve the students like they are supposed to, it is very sad to also note that their pleas and requests to the minister are so genuine but the minister is casting a blind eye and a deaf ear to all that,” Marevanhema said.

University lecturers join other government workers including doctors, nurses and teachers who have been demanding better salaries. Teachers have vowed not to report to work next week when schools reopen unless their salaries are reviewed upwards.

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