Staff at the Copperbelt University and University of Zambia have resumed work after government settled their February salary arrears, but have threatened to go back on strike if March salaries are not paid on time.
Lecturers at the two higher learning institutions had been on a go-slow for the past two weeks, demanding payment of their February salaries.
But on Tuesday, the academics and lecturers’ unions from both CBU and UNZA, confirmed to News Diggers in separate interviews that the dues owed to their members had been settled and that they had all resumed work.
Copperbelt University Academic Union (CBUAU) president Dr Derrick Ntalasha explained that his members were especting to receive their March salaries by Friday, March 29th , failure to which they would go back on strike.
“Yes we were paid the February salaries yesterday and we have gone back to work. Now we are waiting for the March salaries in the next two days. If salaries for this month delay as well… in fact, we given them (management) an ultimatum to say payment is supposed to be made by Thursday and we have given them up to Friday. So after Friday we will give them our exact plan on how we would want to continue demonstrating until we are paid,” Dr Ntalasha said.
He, however, regretted that the stoppage of work by lecturers was affecting students.
“It does affect students and it’s regrettable really that we have to go through this all that. All of us know what it takes but then we have the management and government that is not really caring for both the employer and the employees. These people that work at CBU have got families, so how do you expect people to be teaching while they are hungry?” asked Dr Ntalasha.
And UNZALARU general secretary Dr Kelvin Mambwe confirmed that staff at UNZA got paid on Wednesday last week but said that they would still go back strike if the March salaries were not paid on time.
“For this month I think they will still be the same, there will still be a delay because we were informed that they (government and management) are having issues finding the money. So we shouldn’t expect to be paid on the month end because there will be a slight delay… but we have not agreed, we told them that if they don’t pay… our terms of conditions have not been charged. So if they don’t pay us, the same thing that happened two weeks ago will happen, no one is going to work. So our plea is that they need to find the money and pay people on the dates when their salaries fall due because they are not explaining to us why they delay. What we have heard is that everything okay and the economy is doing well, so if the economy is doing well, let them own up and pay on time. If they don’t pay on time, the university is not going to run normally. The same things which characterized the university two weeks ago will be the order of the day. So students will suffer terribly because their academic calendar will also suffer and the quality of students the country is going to produce will be compromised,” said Dr Mambwe.