LECTURERS in Government-run teachers’ colleges and polytechnics at all the country’s 28 institutions have gone on strike dema-nding a minimum salary of US$500.
The lecturers, who went on strike last Tuesday, are also demanding that they be paid salaries similar to their university counterparts.
The lowest-paid lecturer is getting US$200 while the minimum salary for a university lecturer is US$1 100.
The strike comes at a time when the Apex council, a body that brings together civil servants unions, is expected to meet Government negotiators today under the National Joint Negotiating Council.
Civil servants’ unions – which were divided over the way forward after failing to get increments last week – said today was the deadline for Government to give them positive results.
College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe (COLAZ) president Mr David Dzatsunga yesterday said all the lecturers countrywide had joined the strike and would continue until their salaries were reviewed upwards.
COLAZ also falls under APEX Council.
“We have waited for so long and Government is not forthcoming and I think this is the best way to show our disgruntlement.
“The strike is in full swing at all the 28 colleges and we will only return after getting good news from the Government.
“Although university lectures are traditionally paid more than us, the gap is now too wide. There is nothing special about those lecturers because at the end of the day we have the same qualifications,” he said.
General hands at most universities, Mr Dzatsunga said, were earning salaries way above college lecturers.
A visit to Harare Polytechnic yesterday showed that the educators were on an industrial action with lecturers and students confirming the latest development.
At Belvedere Technical Teacher’s Trai-ning College, students are reportedly wri-ting end of term examinations and there was confusion as to what course of action to take.
“We have suffered enough my brother and it is high time our paymasters address the problem.
“We have resolved to resume classes only after our demands are met,” said a lecture at Harare Polytechnic who declined to be named for professional reasons.
Public Service Deputy Minister Andrew Langa yesterday confirmed today’s mee-ting.
“Yes there is a meeting tomorrow (today) to bring finality to this issue of salaries,” said Deputy Minister Langa.
The unions said they were expecting Government to bring to the table “reasonable figures”.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu yesterday said: “We expect positive results and as of what will happen if we fail to get the increment, we will cross the bridge when we get there”.
Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Manuel Nyawo said they were expecting nothing short of an increment.
“We want our increment backdated to June and without that it will be disaster.
“We have passed the pay date and we only urge our members to be patient for today only until the outcome of the meeting,” he said.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general, Mr Raymond Majongwe added, “What we want is a reasonable figure on the table and the rest we will talk after”.
Civil servants, who earn an average monthly salary of US$150, have been agitating for a salary increase but Finance Minister has refused to release the money saying Government was broke.
Their hopes were only raised in April this year when they met President Mugabe who assured them that their salaries would be reviewed this month.