Recently, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Chishimba Kambwili warned Copperbelt University (CBU) lecturers to return to work or risk their employment contracts terminated. Meanwhile, the University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) maintains that only the minister of education understands the intricacies involved in the running of a university or any other learning institution. THE University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) has urged Minister of Information and Broadcasting Hon. Chishimba Kambwili to leave academic matters be handled by education minister Michael Kaingu.
Speaking to the Lusaka Star in an interview, UNZALARU president Euston Chiputa, said only the minister of education understands the intricacies involved in the running of a university or any other learning institution.
Dr. Chiputa urged government to strengthen dialogue and listen to the grievances of lecturers and researchers noting that proper communication is key in solving grievances.
He explained that Mr. Kambwili’s statement to fire lecturers and members of staff at the Copperbelt University (CBU) can make the institution understaffed adding that such would affect the academic progress of the institution.
And in a separate statemnt issued by UNZALARU and made available to the Lusaka Star, UNZALARU secretary general Jason Mwanza said the information minister's incitement of union members to rise against their duly elected union leaders was interference and an affront to trade unionism at CBU, nationally and internationally.
"It is ironic that the Minister of Information has upsurged the powers of the Ministers of Education and Labour who were competently appointed by the President of Zambia to supreinted over matters of Education and Labour respectively.
These threats and actions must be condemened in the strongest terms. Issues of trade unionism as enshrined in the Constitution of Zambia, the Industrial and Labour Act and ILO Conventions of 87 and 98 are better left to the duly appointed Minister in charge of Labour who has the necessary competence to handle these matters," he explained.
And the Secretary General has cautioned that government's intention to dismiss lectures at CBU will result in consequences that will be too ghastly to contemplate.
He has since called on relevant government authorities to engage in sincere and meaningful dialogue with the academics union at CBU to abate the continued impasse.
The reactions come after a statement was made by minister of Information and Broadcasting Chishimba Kambwili warning CBU lecturers to return to work or risk their employment contracts terminated.
Mr. Kambwili said government would not hesitate to fire any lecturer who will continue blackmailing government.
The Minister of Information and Broadcasting further said government found nothing wrong with CBU management noting that lecturers having a problem with operations at the institution should resign.
Meanwhile, Copperbelt University Students’ Council chairperson Gresham Phiri has given education minister Michael Kaingu a 48-hour ultimatum to re-open the university.
Mr. Phiri said the government has betrayed the people who put them in power by closing learning institutions and sending students on the streets.
In Kitwe, CBU lecturers went on strike last month, demanding the removal of the University’s vice-chancellor Professor Naison Ngoma and the entire management.