University workers threaten strike over low wages

By Ndumiso Tshuma

In a move that signals growing discontent among university workers, the Zimbabwe Universities and Allied Workers Union (ZUAWU) and the Zimbabwe State Universities Union of Academics (ZISUUA) have jointly issued a 14-day notice of intention to embark on a strike.

The unions, collectively known as the Zimbabwe State Universities Joint Council, represent workers across all state universities in the country.

In a formal notice addressed to the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education Amon Murwira and university authorities and administrators, the joint council expressed deep regret over the necessity of the strike action, citing a lack of meaningful engagement despite repeated attempts to address critical issues affecting university staff.

Chief among the grievances outlined in the notice are salary-related demands, including the decline in purchasing power of state universities workers’ salaries.

The joint council also highlighted that some staff members reportedly earn negative salaries, indicating a severe financial strain on university workers.

Furthermore, the failure of the Zimbabwe State Universities Councils to award salary increases in line with the national poverty datum line has exacerbated the financial hardships faced by university workers.

“We would like to bring to your attention that the State Universities Innovation Hubs and Commercialised projects are failing to generate surplus funds to cater for universities workers’ salaries,” the joint council noted.

This, combined with the soaring cost of living, has left university staff struggling to meet basic needs such as food, housing, transportation, education, and healthcare.

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