UNIVERSITY of Zambia Professional Staff Union (UNZAPROSU) says it appears the financial challenges which the institution is currently experiencing are the work of the devil since both management and government do not want to take responsibility.

And the union has lamented that management has not responded to its demands for improved conditions of service for 2021.

In a letter to all union members, Tuesday, UNZAPROSU general secretary Nalucha Mayamba saidthe union might consider advising management to hire a director of spiritual matters to look into delayed salaries since it seemed it was the work of the devil.

“Since we the workers are not to blame for delayed salaries, neither Government nor management wants to take the blame, may be this is a spiritual matter and in this vein we may consider to advise Management to employ a Director of spiritual matters just as they also intend to employ Director Human resource amid these chronic financial challenges. If this is not be attainable we may opt to recommend the secondment of such a Director from the Ministry of Religious Affairs as it appears now that our financial challenges could be the work of the devil. As your executive we would like to thank you our members for this exemplary dedication to duty. You have always been reduced to beggars every festive season and this year is not an exception. As usual we have been forced to celebrate our festive season in our dreams and whoever is responsible for this misery should be made to account. Just imagine a situation where even our bodies are now allergic to shopping mall during this festive season to the extent that our bodies start itching when approaching one,” Mayamba stated.

“As you may be familiar with the delayed salaries at our institution which has turned into a drama series month in month out. This month of December is not different from other months in the recent past. We were assured by management that they are doing everything possible to pay the December 2020 salaries before Friday (new year). From our side as employees and members of this lovely Union we have offered our services diligently to this Institution to the extent that we even forfeited the usual Christmas break since our clients are on campus. As your leaders we can proudly say we have not received any report or complaint from management to the effect that one of our members have not performed their duties diligently to the extent that the December 2020 (salaries) won’t be paid on time. Therefore we will not accept any explanation for not paying our December salaries before Friday this week. In the past we as UNZA trade unions have publicly blamed the current Government for under funding and our Management for mismanagement of this institution and every time we did that our social partners have always taken our criticism with a pinch of salt to the extent they have threatened us with revocation of recognition agreements and undertook schemes to weaken and undermine us.”

Mayamba asked members to join in prayer and fasting to ensure the devil doesn’t prevail over the loans board, so amounts owed to the institution are released.

“We were informed that the payment of the remaining three months salary arrears for 2019 is likely to be paid this month if the Higher Education loans and scholarship Board (HELSB) releases the fee amounts owed for students who screened after May 2020 for 2019/2020 academic year. Regarding the 2020 arrears we were further briefed that they will be paid when students report in the next academic year which starts in February 2020. We can only ask all our members to join in prayer and fasting to ensure the devil does not prevail over HELSB as prayer is our only hope now,” he stated.

And Mayamba said they would upgrade 2021 negotiations from a “drama series” to a “fully packed action movie” in order to regain their loss in purchasing power.

“As usual we as your executive have submitted to Management our demands for 2021 improved conditions of service as required by law and up to date we have not received any response. However, in the usual pre-recorded response we were told that these negotiation will only start once parameters from Government are received. Dear members as you have witnessed the sharp price increases in goods and services which have resulted in the high cost of living, as your Executive we are determined to upgrade the 2021 negotiations from the usual drama series to fully packed action movie to regain the loss in purchasing power of our disposable income. This high cost of living is someone’s income and we expect Government and management to collect tax and fees from such Income,” he stated.

He also stated that the National Health Insurance Management (NHIMA) was a fraud.

“For now it’s very clear that we need to cherish and manage our current medical scheme as this NHIMA issue is another fraud that is disadvantaging our members financially. We will also engage management to ensure that the UNZA clinic monthly subscriptions are remitted through the Union to ensure proper service delivery at our first medical reference point,” stated Mayamba.