NUL lecturers protest

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ROMA –— Lecturers and researchers at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) want the management to stop a hefty increase of rentals for staff houses.

The Lesotho University Teachers and Researchers Union (Lutaru) yesterday told the university management that the 100 percent increase in rentals for staff houses was “unfair and unilateral”.

Lutaru submitted a petition to the university management yesterday morning saying the proposed rental increase did not consider that the lecturers and researchers were already “underpaid”.

NUL this month increased the rentals for staff houses at the Roma campus and other properties in Maseru.

Currently lecturers and researchers staying in university houses are paying rentals of between M600 to M1 200 per month depending on the size of the property.

After the review the workers are now paying between M1 200 and M2 400 for the same houses.

Lutaru said its members were shocked when they realised that management had deducted the reviewed rentals from their October salaries.

In a petition accepted by the acting Vice-Chancellor Molapi Sebatana, Lutaru said the increases were “harsh”. 

“The resolution to increase the rent by 100 percent was harsh and unreasonable. No reasonable employer in his right state of mind would have taken such a harsh measure under the prevailing economic circumstances,” the petition said.

“The actions taken by the university administration thus far in respect of this matter are reflective of a paternalistic attitude, bad faith, total disregard of the concerns of the employees and their interests, harks back to the master and servant era where employees were mere chattels, is extremely shortsighted and impetuous.”

“It is clear to us that the present administration believes in the archaic Machiavellian notion that the end justifies the means and is inconsistent with the key principle of sound labour relations practices. It (university management) is disrespectful of the union and its members,” adds the petition.

“We therefore demand that the university put an immediate moratorium on the abovementioned unilateral and secretive implementation of its draconian resolution,” reads the petition.

The Lutaru has since lodged a complaint at the Directorate of Dispute Prevention and Resolution (DDPR) to resolve the deadlock between them and the management.   

The NUL management could not be reached for comment.

Lutaru’s secretary general, Mothepa Ndumo, told the Lesotho Times that they had agreed with the management that the increments will not be implemented until the parties have come up with a more acceptable hike.

She said the increment was unreasonable because the university had not improved their salaries since 2005.

“It is unreasonable for the management to effect this biased rental fee hike on the already small salaries that we get,” Ndumo said.

“We had agreed with the management that this decision should be postponed until an affordable price was set.

“We demand that they stop the increments and refund the monies they have charged for this month.

“The decision was rather drastic especially under circumstances that the university last improved wages in 2005. They have not even adjusted the salaries just for us to beat the inflation,” she added. Hit back

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