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  • Strikes and Protests 2007/8 - Teachers and Lecturers

  • Lecturers at state universities go on strike
    Henry Makiwa, SW Radio Africa
    October 01, 2007

    Visit the index of articles on the teachers' strikes

    Lecturers and staff at state universities in Zimbabwe on Monday downed tools in protest at poor salaries, scuttling the examination preparations of students.

    The lecturers joined teachers at primary and high schools whose strike is in its fourth week now as pressure piles on government to address the pay plight of civil servants.

    The lectures are demanding a 2100 percent salary increment that will put them above the country poverty datum line pegged at Z$16 million. Currently some lectures and university staff are earning less than Z$1 million.

    According to the state-controlled The Chronicle newspaper, the strike will hit students hardest, particularly those preparing for their final examinations.

    The President of the Zimbabwe State Universities Union of Academics, who is also the chairman of the National Universities Science and Technology Educators Association, Mr Benard Njekeya, confirmed to the paper that lecturers and other university staff were not reporting for duty.

    Njekeya said: "We are however not on strike per se, but we are finding ourselves in a situation where we cannot afford to go to work because of the poor remuneration which we are getting."

    He added: "At the moment, the lowest paid worker gets a basic salary of $900 000 and that person has to fork out about $4 million to go to work, so in reality they are subsiding the universities to come to work. What we want translates to a 2 100 percent increment but we are not looking so much at percentage but at figures."

    It is understood that representatives of state universities held meetings with officials from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and Ministry of Finance in Harare last week.

    Following disagreements, the lectures decided to go on strike until their demands are met.

    Journalist, Stanley Kwenda said some state university workers were earning "less that three-meals worth of pay."
    Kwenda said: "The strike was well planned to come immediately after pay last week, and a few weeks before the final examinations so that students and parents alike will feel the pinch and draw government into action."

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