It’s a stalemate

Daniel Chida

UB and Unions eyeball each other to see who blinks first

Members of Botswana Academic and Senior Support Staff Union (UBASSU), have expressed disappointment with their management’s response to their demands in the ongoing strike at the University of Botswana.

In an interview with The Voice on Wednesday, UBASSU’s Secretary General, Dr Emmanuel Mogende said that they were disappointed with management’s attitude towards their grievances.

Mogende said that it is nfortunate that the unions, UBASSU and University of Botswana Staff Union (UBSU) were being punished for embarking in the current and previous strikes. “UB management did not show the spirit of negotiating. They disregarded all our demands that we put forth. They don’t want to accede to our demands, not even a bit,” said Mogende.

Amongst some of the demands, Mogende said that they are asking for a 10% salary increment, incorporation of the transport and housing allowance into their basic salary, reimbursement of money that was deducted from staff who participated in the November and December strike last year and also for UB to allow staff to cash their leave days.

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The SG further explained that UB employees are exercising their legal right to strike against unfair and exploitative working conditions in particular the lack of salary inflationary adjustment for six years. “Management was not willing to budge on our proposals despite the fact that we conceded on a number of issues. “We were willing to get the eight percent and call off the strike but without any agreement the strike shall continue indefinitely,” said Mogende.

However, the UB Vice Chancellor, professor David Norris accused the two unions of tarnishing the UB’s reputation through their endless strikes. Norris said that it is disappointing that two unions have hastily embarked on a strike with the aim of paralysing the operations of the university at the critical time of the annual calendar when examinations are to be administered.

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