Felex Share Herald Reporter
LECTURERS at most State-run teachers' colleges and polytechnics have gone on strike demanding a minimum salary of
This follows Government's failure to respond to a notice of an intention to go on strike delivered through the Public Service Commission early this month.
There are 28 teachers' colleges and polytechnics countrywide.
College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe president Mr David Dzatsunga yesterday said the majority of the association's members were on strike.
He accused Government of being insensitive to their welfare.
"We notified them of the job action early this month but the September 19 deadline lapsed without any response from them.
"We started with a sit-in but now many lectures have decided to down tools. We are having problems in reaching some polytechnics because of naughty principals but all the colleges in Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare and some in Harare have joined us," he said.
Mr Dzatsunga described the industrial action as "timely" considering that examinations at most colleges were about to begin.
"This is the only way to force them (Government) to meet our demands because most students would soon be writing their examinations," he said.
He said the lecturers wanted salaries similar to their university counterparts.
The lowest-paid lecturer is getting US$220 while the minimum salary for a university lecturer is US$1 200.
"Traditionally, we have been getting 70 percent of what they earn but the gap is too wide. The abnormality does not mean we begrudge university lecturers at all, but we are even earning less than university general hands and that's why we are saying Government should respect us," he said.
Lecturers and students at Belvedere Technical Teachers' College yesterday confirmed the industrial action.
"We have suffered enough and I think its high time Government accords us the respect we deserve.
"The same Government that is failing to pay us is the same that is paying our university colleagues," a lecturer said.
However, it was business as usual at the Harare Polytechnic with lecturers saying they had not been informed of the industrial action.
Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Stan Mudenge yesterday referred all questions to Permanent Secretary Dr Washington Mbizvo.
Dr Mbizvo was, however, said to be attending a meeting in Mutare while his mobile phone was unreachable.