Sunday, May 29, 2022

UB threatens “no work no pay” against striking staff

The University of Botswana (UB) administration has threatened a ‘no work no pay’ rule against staff members who are planning to go on strike on Tuesday.

The strike, which is expected to last for four days, follows a deadlock between the University management and two of its Unions over a controversial pay structure, which proposes hefty salary hikes 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).

A communication from Katzke’s office states that management will try all efforts to resolve the impasse so that students are not adversely affected. It appears UB management is ready to deal with the strike. According to Katzke, management will apply the ‘no work, no pay rule’.

“Should the Unions decide to withdraw their labour, all non-unionised employees and members of the National Amalgamated Local and Central Government Parastatal Manual Workers Union (NALCGPMWU) are reminded that they are to report for duty and continue working as usual,” states Katzke.

The University has directed employees working in the Information Technology, Health Service and Protection Service departments not to participate in the strike as they form the institution’s essential services manpower.

UB management has warned Deans, Directors, deputy director, heads of department, executive assistants and managers not to participate in the strike.

In an interview with the Sunday Standard on Friday, the general secretary of UBASSSU, Lebohang Letsie, said that the Union had notified both the University management and the Commissioner of Labour of their intention to strike.

Letsie says the no work no pay threat will not dissuade them from going on strike.
“We have given them a 48-hour notice and notified them accordingly when the strike will resume,” she said.

She said that the Union had also forwarded its demands.

Letsie said that of particular concern to the Union is that professors’ salaries must be paid at the same scale as the University’s super directors who, in line with the new proposal, are to earn around P603.171 per annum.

“We have demanded that professors’ salaries must be packed at the super directors’ level. They are at the apex. They are the ones we look up to. Universities derive their good reputation from professors,” she argued.

“You cannot have an academic institution that does not recognise the centrality of its professors in driving its Vision and mission,” Letsie said.

She stated that it was surprising that while the University is aiming to be a centre for academic excellence, it was failing to reward the main drivers of its vision.

“UB says it aims to be a centre of academic excellence, Professors are the main drivers, they should be given respect in terms of remuneration,” she stated.

She told the Sunday Standard that although the strike commences on Tuesday, there is no definite period regarding when it will end, adding that the strike action will come in instalments of four days.

“If within that time, management offers anything, if the issues are not resolved we will have a second instalment of the strike,” she said.

Letsie further said that the Union is also disturbed that the proposed pay structure, if implemented, might result in the lumping of several employees in one band.

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