By MOFFAT CHAZINGWA –
NEGOTIATIONS for increased salaries for Mulungushi University lecturers in Kabwe have stalled after the unions and university management yesterday reached a deadlock.
The deadlock was reached after Mulungushi University management and the unions who resumed negotiations on Thursday following a four-day protest by the lecturers, failed to reach a consensus over the salary increment.
University management insisted on its earlier offer of 10 per cent against the 20 per cent being demanded by the lecturers.
Copperbelt University Academics Union (CBUAU), which is one of the unions representing Mulungushi University lecturers and was engaged in the negotiations with management for salary increment said the two teams yesterday declared a dispute after failing to agree on the salary impasse.
CBUAU president Mwiya Songolo said in an interview from Kabwe that a dispute was declared after university management stuck to its earlier offer of 10 per cent salary increment which the union again objected to.
“It’s very unfortunate that when they set a date for us to get back to the negotiating table, our colleagues seemed to have a hidden agenda because when we resumed sitting yesterday, all they said was that they were still offering 10 per cent salary increment.
“And when we rejected the offer, they said in this case we need to have a conciliator according to the law,” he said.
Mr Songolo said the unions after consulting the general membership resolved not to bring in a conciliator but instead appealed to Mulungushi University council, who are the employers being custodians of the university on behalf of Government.
“Since we have reached this impasse, we have decided to appeal to the university council because we felt if we involve a conciliator, then our employer will have no room because of the legal aspect,” Mr Songolo said.
He said should the council fail to resolve the dispute, the union would then appeal to the Minister of Education who appointed the council.
Mr Songolo said the lecturers would in the meantime continue working but would not hesitate to down tools should the intended options fail to produce desired results.