UZ employees down tools, cite incapacitation

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BY PRIVELEDGE GUMBODETE
UNIVERSITY of Zimbabwe (UZ) employees downed tools yesterday citing incapacitation.

This follows a declaration of incapacitation by teachers since schools opened on February 7 as they demanded that government should restore their salaries to the pre-October 2018 cap of at least US$540.

In a memorandum seen by NewsDay dated February 17, 2022, which was addressed to vice-chancellor Paul Mapfumo by Association of University Teachers (AUT-UZ), the University Technicians Association (UTA-UZ), the workers’ committee said continuous deterioration of the economy had rendered their salaries worthless, thereby triggering incapacitation.

The workers’ representatives also revealed that the lowest paid worker at the university earned at least $21 000.

Furthermore, the UZ workers said they could no longer afford transport as well as lunch, making it difficult for them to provide their services.

“The lowest-paid employee at the university earns a net wage of $21 000. Meanwhile, according to ZimStat [Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency] data published in December 2021, the total consumption poverty line (TCPL) based on the cheapest food and non-food basket was $8 009 per person per month or $48 054 per month for a family of six. According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ), a family of six needed $72 967 for basic expenses during the same period,” the memo
read.

“When schools opened early this month, school fees, the prices of stationery, school wear, fuel/transport fares, utilities and premiums for funeral policies, data bundles, council rates, accommodation and others increased. This further diminished the value of our wages. Consequently, our members are severely incapacitated. That is most UZ employees cannot meet their obligations from one payday to the next. As we speak, employees cannot afford transport (fuel or bus fares) to come to work daily. In addition, many skip lunch while at work.”

The workers said they were unable to report for 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 5.0. This is possible when employees’ welfare and rights are taken care of,” they said.

Efforts to get a comment from Higher and Tertiary Education minister Amon Murwira were fruitless.

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