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Zimbabwe college lecturers threaten strike over low pay

by Staff reporter
21 Oct 2023 at 21:00hrs | Views
The College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe (COLAZ) has officially informed its employer, the Tertiary Education Service Council (TESC), that their members cannot report to work due to a drastic reduction in their monthly pay, which now stands at a mere US$40.

The lecturers have granted their employer a two-week window to address their concerns, emphasizing that if their requests are not met during this period, they will resort to strike action.

It's important to note that college lecturers were previously under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Commission (PSC) but have since transitioned to TESC. However, educators are frustrated with the extended delay in addressing and implementing their compensation issues by the council.

In a letter dated October 18, 2023, addressed to TESC and copied to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science, and Technology, as well as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, along with all college principals, COLAZ President David Dzatsunga conveyed their incapacitation and urged TESC to promptly address the matter.

Dzatsunga highlighted the pivotal role of lecturers in promoting the Education 5.0 concept, which the government is actively endorsing in tertiary institutions. He stressed that as educators, they need to be adequately equipped to effectively fulfill their roles.

In the letter, he pointed out, "In our previous communication to you, we provided sample pay advice slips that clearly illustrate the severe inadequacy of our salaries, which now fall well below the poverty line." Dzatsunga further disclosed that their salaries had dipped to below ZWL$70,000 (approximately US$40) in October.

The COLAZ president expressed the expectation that TESC, as their employer, would acknowledge the chronic nature of their incapacitation and make every effort to rectify this distressing reality.

He emphasized that the decision to issue a notice of incapacitation was not taken lightly, as they typically prefer engaging in dialogue, which had been the norm in their interactions with the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science, and Technology.

COLAZ remained hopeful that TESC would show them the same respect by responding to their communication and providing updates on the terms and conditions through the union. Dzatsunga reiterated their commitment to constructive dialogue and eagerly awaited TESC's response on the salary matter, reiterating their dedication to advancing the President's 2030 vision.

Dzatsunga concluded by highlighting their pivotal role as the driving force behind Education 5.0 and stressed the necessity of adequate support to carry out their responsibilities effectively for the benefit of Zimbabwe.

Several lecturers shared their intention to grant TESC a two-week window to respond to their grievances. If meaningful engagement does not occur during this period, they expressed their willingness to initiate strike action, expressing concerns about the council's protracted delay in addressing their salary concerns. One lecturer underscored, "While we are giving our employer time to respond, silence on their part would result in us refraining from work, as our current financial situation cannot sustain our work commitments."

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