via Bulawayo24 NEWS | College and polytechnic lecturers demand more from govt by Staff Reporter 11 November 2013
COLLEGE and polytechnic lecturers are demanding that Government pays them salaries and set working conditions that are in line with their university counterparts.
The lecturers, through the College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe, have written to their parent ministry seeking a meeting to present various grievances, chief among them, salary discrepancies.
“The College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe, a registered union for lecturers in Teachers’ Colleges, Polytechnics, Industrial Training Colleges and Vocational Training Colleges hereby congratulates you on the occasion of your appointment as Minister of Higher and
Tertiary Education, Science and Technology and wish you a most successful term in your challenging portfolio,” read the letter, that was addressed to Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister Dr Olivia Muchena.
“College lecturers pray for a meeting of their Hon Minister and the Colaz leadership, principally to share on a few issues of mutual concern and interest. It is our most sincere hope that you will afford us time on your obviously busy schedule at a time and place you may appoint at the earliest convenience.”
Colaz president Mr David Dzatsunga said the lowest paid college lecturer was getting $292 while those in universities were getting $2 020, including allowances.
He said while acknowledging that the salaries should not necessarily be equal, the current disparity was “too much to handle”.
“Previously, a college lecturer used to get only 30 percent less than what was paid to our university counterparts, but now the difference is over 600 percent, but we have the same qualifications and their money also comes from the fiscus,” he said.
“We are both manpower developers and the current set up is abnormal as we serve under one Government and this is the main reason why we have sought the attention of the Minister because we believe this is a new Government which should usher in a new administration.”
Mr Dzatsunga said it was sad that the college lecturers were earning salaries lower than those of general hands at universities.
“They are university employees, but what the general hands earn is an indication that the lecturers are sitting pretty well,” he said.
“Even Zimdef students given monthly grants while on apprenticeship by Government are even much better than their lecturers at various polytechnics. Zimbabwe is the only country in the region that does not pay college lecturers in line with what they pay academics at universities.”
Mr Dzatsunga said apart from the salaries, they were also seeking improved working conditions through schemes like housing.
“If Government does not show any commitment, then it means more people might leave the country for greener pastures,” he said.
“Most of these people once left the country a few years ago and came after the inclusive Government promised to award them good salaries, but nothing came up and now that we have a one party Government, it is our hope that some of the issues will be solved.”
A senior official in the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development who refused to be named for professional reasons said college and university lecturers negotiated their salaries and working conditions at different platforms.
In view of that, the senior official said, the lecturers’ salaries would never be the same.
“While it is true that there are salary discrepancies, one thing you should know is that these people, despite falling under the same Ministry, have their salaries decided at different forums,” he said.
“There used to be a small difference but now the college lecturers are guided by the Civil Service Commission Act, which was once the Public Service Act while universities are equivalent to quasi parastatals and are guided by the Labour Act and the Universities Act. Those from the colleges negotiate together with the teachers and other civil servants while university lecturers are a different group altogether.”