THE University of Zambia (UNZA) Council has admitted that it had been deducting money from its employees’ monthly union contributions.
It has, however, submitted that it will subject the University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) to strict proof as regards what is owed to them.
This is a matter in which UNZALARU has sued the University of Zambia Council in the Lusaka High Court, claiming payment of K4.5 million arising from arrears of unremitted union contributions.
UNZALARU also wants interests, costs and any relief that the court may deem fit.
But in its defence filed in the Lusaka High Court recently, the University of Zambia Council submitted that it would subject UNZALARU to strict proof as regards what was owed to them.
It however, agreed that it entered into a recognition agreement with the union on March 23, 1993.
The UNZA Council also admitted that it had been deducting from its employees’ monthly union contributions but added that it would subject UNZALARU to strict proof as regards what was owed to them.
“Save in so far as the same consists of admissions, the defendant denies each and every allegation contained in the statement of claim as if the same were set out herein and traversed seriatim,” it stated.
In a statement of claim filed in the Lusaka High Court, Kelvin Mambwe suing in his capacity as UNZALARU general secretary stated that UNZALARU was a duly registered and recognised union for lecturers and researchers whose major role was to act in the best interest of its members.
He added that this was in order to maintain sound industrial relations, academic excellence and to bring about competitive conditions of service of all members.
Mambwe stated that in or about March 23, 1993, the union entered into a recognition agreement with the UNZA Council which was entrusted with the role of collecting union contributions on behalf of UNZALARU from its members by deducting the said funds directly from their salaries.
He stated that based on the foregoing, UNZA Council had been deducting from its members their monthly union contributions fees but not remitting the said funds to UNZALARU.
Mambwe stated that in consequence, the defendant (UNZA Council) now owed the union members the sum of K4,505,587.52 being arrears of unremitted union contributions despite the said funds having already been deducted from union members.
“The plaintiff will aver that it depends on the contributions from its members for its activities and programs and hence the defendant’s failure to remit the funds despite having deducted them has negatively affected the operations of the plaintiff,” read the claim.
He stated that despite making several reminders to the defendant, the sum of K4,505,587.52 still remains owing and the defendant had not made any efforts to settle the outstanding amount.
Mambwe added that as a result UNZALARU had suffered inconvenience.