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Varsity workers temporarily down tools



MASERU – NON-ACADEMIC staff at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) temporarily downed tools on Monday as they pressed for better pay.

The workers told Vice-Chancellor Professor Isaac Fajana that their current salaries had been eroded by inflation and want them adjusted immediately.

The workers petitioned Professor Fajana to look into the issue urgently. Business at the university came to a standstill as the workers sang struggle songs while they marched to the vice-chancellor’s office.

They gave Professor Fajana until Sunday to respond to their grievances.

In their petition the workers said the university should provide them with a tangible progress report of the implementation of recommendations that were reached after their prior petition of April 22 this year.

They stated that they are aware that the university council had approved an inflation adjustment for the 2022/2023 academic year but to their dismay the management had not yet implemented it.

“We demand it to be effected in our December salary together with arrears,” the petition reads.

They pleaded with the management to consider the fact that “employees are faced with a rapid increase in costs of living”.

“The inflation has a negative impact on the staff pensions,” they said.

They requested the management to “freeze recruitment of the registrar and the librarian with immediate effect”.

“Their requirement is not applicable to the non-academic structure and it is not understandable that a degree holder is employed under the non-academic terms,” the petition reads.

Their petition also states that they had also noticed that the posts were advertised internally which is against the agreement between the Non-Academic Workers Union (NAWU) and the NUL management.

On the issue of a salary review, they said that in the last meeting that was held on June 23 this year between the management and the NAWU, it was agreed that after the council meeting a consultant would be engaged to conduct job evaluations that would be followed by a salary review exercise.

They added that they had learned that the last review was done 17 years ago, in 2005.

“We demand that this exercise be conducted in time so that by the next financial year it shall be implemented.”

They said they are also not happy with the practice of recalling retired staff back to work.

“The university should speed up the process of recruitment while the substantive remains within three months before retirement, so that the handing over is done effectively and the recall be prohibited,” the petition reads.

The statement also states that the already existing staff is not allowed to grow and gain experience in higher positions and this “affects recently graduated students who qualify for such posts”.

They stated that it has been eight months since NAWU submitted its recognition agreement draft to the management office for consideration as requested “but to date, no acknowledgment, no inputs, no execution and we demand the NUL management to respond to our draft”.

The university’s information officer, Thapelo Sephiri, told thepost that they had received the petition.

“The vice-chancellor is now working on it,” Sephiri said.

Nkheli Liphoto

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