Copperbelt University and the University of Zambia lecturers say they will not report for work today at the two institutions, owing to their January 2019 delayed salaries.

In a letter addressed to Copperbelt University Registrar and signed by three Union Secretary Generals namely: Lukanga Kapeshi, Secretary General of Copperbelt University Senior Administrative, Professional and Technical Staff Union (CUSATSU), Willie Ngosa Secretary General of the Copperbelt University Academics Union (CBUAU) and Fernando Fulwe, Secretary General of the Copperbelt University and Allied Workers Union (CBUAWU), the union leaders stated that their members would not be available for work on 4th February 2019 as they have not been paid their January salaries.

“This serves to inform your office that our members won’t be available starting Monday 4th February 2019 as they will be engaged in other means to meet their daily needs until the Copperbelt University pays their delayed 2019 January salaries. Our members have been and have continued reporting for work after 28th of January without being paid their 2019 January salaries. This scenario cannot be tolerated as our members do not have means of coming to work and need to find other means to fend for their families,” read the letter.

“Be reminded also that the employment Act cap 268 of the Laws of Zambia section 48 (1) in reference to payment of wages to employees provides that ‘the wages of an employee shall be due (a) on the last day of the each month or (f) in accordance with the terms of the contract of service.” In the case of the Copper belt University employees, wages are to be paid on the 28th of each month unless with agreement to the contrary by the affected employees. The same act at section 48 (2) provides that ‘the wages of the employee shall be paid at regular intervals not being later than the fifth day following the date upon which they fall due under subsection (1).”

The unions stated that it was therefore mandatory for the Copperbelt University to pay every employee, whether unionised or in management, not later than 5 days after the 28th of every month.

“Therefore, this law gives employees an option to agree to continue working without pay or withdraw labour to go and look for other means to meet his/her daily needs until the employer pays the due wages. We look forward to your urgent resolution of this matter,” read the letter.

Meanwhile, the University of Zambia management has informed employees that the January salaries will be delayed. In an internal memo issued by acting registrar Rodgers Phiri, UNZA management has told employees that their salaries would be paid when government gives them the monthly grant.

“This serves to inform all members of staff of the University of Zambia that the January 2019 salaries will be delayed and will be paid as soon as the grant is received. The inconvenience caused is deeply regretted. We thank you in advance for your usual cooperation on this issue,” read the memo.