Monday, November 28, 2022

UB on the brink as staff union threatens strike action over salaries

The University of Botswana (UB) staff members will tomorrow meet to decide on whether to drag the University Management to the Industrial Court or go on a strike.

This comes after mediation efforts between UB Management and University of Botswana Academic and Senior Support Staff Union (UBSSSU) over a proposed new pay structure collapsed this week.

The meeting, which is scheduled for Monday at 4:30 pm at UB’s old staff lounge, has been confirmed by UBSSSU President, Dr Never Tshabang.

“We will meet on Monday and it will basically be to determine a way forward,” he told the Sunday Standard.

“We have an option to pursue this issue through the industrial court, arbitration and Industrial action,” he added.

UB has proposed a hefty salary hike of close to 100 percent to its Vice Chancellor, Professor Bojosi Otlhogile, and his three deputies, Professor Frank Youngman (Academic Affairs), Lydia Saleshando (Student Affairs) and Dawid Katzke (Finance and Administration).
The new pay structure was supposed to have been implemented this year but was halted by the disagreements between the Union and UB Management.

In terms of the proposal, the Vice Chancellor, who previously earned P37 000 a month, will now take home around P67 000, while deputy vice Chancellors professor Youngman, Saleshando and Katzke, who earn roughly P34 000 a month, will earn close to P58.000 a month.

On the other hand, directors and deputy directors are supposed to get 54 percent and 17 percent increment, respectively.

This means that annually, the highest paid director will get P603, 171.00, up from P389, 568.00.
The highest paid deputy director, who has been earning around P32 000 a month, will now earn around P40 000.

The Union is opposed to the proposed pay structure and contends that there is a big disparity between the salaries of academic staff and those in management. The Union says the proposed structure rewards more the people who are outside the university’s core mandate.

Professors who have been earning P32 000 will get a 31 percent salary increase and earn close to P42 000.
The Union had proposed that professors who are at the apex of academic staff’s pay structure be paid at the same scale as the UB’s directors.

Tshabang also revealed that the Union is disappointed with the outcome of the mediation process which has been ongoing for over a month.

According to a certificate issued by the mediating officer, Maemo Bantsi, the mediation process collapsed because of ‘no prospects of a settlement’.

“We are obviously disappointed that management does not seem to think that the welfare of Staff members is important,” President of the (UBSSSU) said Tshabang.

The Union is of the view that only management stands to benefit from the proposed pay structure.
According to this proposed salary structure, a professor will earn the same salary as deputy director.

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