University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) general secretary Dr Kelvin Mambwe has disclosed that lecturers at the higher learning institution still haven’t been paid their March salaries, prolonging their go-slow.

In an interview, Monday, Dr Mambwe explained that lectures had maintained their go-slow position because government and UNZA management were also on a go-slow to pay them their March dues.

He bemoaned that UNZA’s academic calendar had consequently been affected, a situation he said would negatively impact students.

“We have not yet received March salaries, I would actually say that we have lost a full month without pay because what they will be paying us this week if at all they will pay us, it’s like for April, but what about March salaries? So, we have lost it! If they can be paying March salaries now, it means April salaries will come somewhere in May or June,” Dr Mambwe said.

“The go-slow on the part of the lecturers is not there, but it’s there on the part of government and management. And you know what that means, if government goes slow, even everything at the institution goes slow because they don’t expect the institution to run normally without money.”

He said UNZA’s academic calendar had been affected due to delayed salary payments which have led to strikes.

“The academic calendar has been disturbed because things are not normal, and the sad part is that those that are in authority don’t want to accept the situation as it is. But the one who is suffering in the end is not just a worker; it’s the students and nation at large because the nation is expecting the human resource product from UNZA. At some point, the nation will be deprived of that quality graduate,” he said.

And Dr Mambwe said government should prioritise higher education the same way it has prioritised the defence and security wings.

“Where matters of bread are concerned, you cannot get tired until the situation is normalized because we are talking about the situation of food here and a livelihood. What we continue to appeal to those who manage the affairs of the nation is that they need to put priority on higher education; no matter what! Just like they put priority on defence and security, they should also put priority on higher education because even defence and security itself draws manpower from higher education. You cannot have a defence system that does not benefit from higher education, they are benefiting; so let them prioritise higher education,” said Dr Mambwe.

“To say that we should be innovative in order to sustain the university, that’s non-starter for now because UNZA remains a public institution, which is run by public funds and also the fact that government sponsors students, those students should be paid for on time so that the institution plans better.”