Lecturers at the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Bulawayo have reportedly downed tools, citing financial incapacitation.
A letter from the National University of Science and Technology Educators Association (NUSTEDA), seen by this publication, highlighted that the action was prompted by the removal of transport allowance and low salaries.
“This letter serves to inform your office of the resolution by the NUSTEDA constituency in a general meeting held on campus this morning (9 March 2023). All NUSTEDA members are incapacitated to report for duty with immediate effect. The NUSTEDA membership highlighted that this incapacitation results from the unilateral removal of the transport allowance by the NUST management and the depreciation of the buying power of the salary,” read the letter signed by NUSTEDA President Dr Mlamuli Dlamini.
Reached for a comment, Dr Dlamini said they are not in a position to engage the media over the issue.
NUST Director of Communications and Marketing, Thabani Mpofu, said the university is engaging NUSTEDA over the matter.
“The letter was written to the Vice Chancellor of NUST but unfortunately it has found its way to the media. Engagements between NUSTEDA and the institution pertaining to the issue are ongoing and unfortunately, we cannot disclose such internal issues to the media. However, lectures are ongoing as normal here at the institution,” Mpofu said.
However, lecturers who spoke on condition of anonymity said the transport allowance was scrapped without any consultation.
“There was no communication prior to the transport allowance being removed from our salaries. It was an amount that has always been there although it had never been really reviewed to match the economic situation. There is need to appreciate that there are some lecturers who drive to work, the money they get should at least allow them to fuel their cars but that is not the case,” a lecturer noted.
“None of the lecturers can even count on the institution’s bus. For starters it does not take you home, it leaves you in town. But the major challenge is its timetable. Some lecturers have classes that finish around 5:30 PM yet the bus leaves campus around 4:30 PM. Clearly, it caters for other staff members who have fixed working timetables.”
Another lecturer reiterated that the salaries they get can hardly sustain them and their families.
“We go to work so that we can provide for our families. Honestly, when we can no longer afford to do the basics for our families it defeats the whole purpose. We love our work, and we are committed to it, but we are financially incapacitated to do our duties. We barely make it through the month with the money that we earn,” the lecturer said.