THE National University of Science and Technology (Nust) has been taken to the labour court by its workers over outstanding salaries amounting to $800 000.
The amount is for lecturers’ outstanding salaries for 2012 and 2013. The case was heard yesterday at the chambers of Bulawayo arbitrator Washington Chitima.
The case is that in 2009 Nust entered into a verbal agreement with its workers, that for each extra course a lecturer taught, they would be paid $1 700.
However, Nust failed to honour its obligation resulting in the National University of Science and Technology Educators’ Association (Nusteda) taking the matter to court to have the dispute resolved.
Nusteda, which was represented by Kossam Ncube and Partners, told the court that the university could not hide behind the government because the arrangement was between the institution and its workers.
“We, therefore, sought an order for declaration to the effect that Nust is obliged to pay its
workers for extra courses taken up in the year of 2012 to 2013. In addition to that, we are seeking an order compelling Nust to pay for extra lessons within 14 days,” said Ncube.
He further argued that the university’s claims of financial incapacity when it comes to the payment of salaries, while it pays other service providers like Zesa, Bulawayo City Council and TelOne, did not hold water.
“The fact that Nust may have no financial capacity to pay its workers does not bar the order being granted as applicants are entitled to salaries they worked for. In passing the buck to the government, Nust is simply trying to hide behind the finger in a bid to avoid its obligation,” he said.
Jonathan Ncube of Calderwood and Bryce, who represented Nust, argued that payment of salaries was the responsibility of the government and as such the government had not forwarded any money to the institution for payment of wages for the extra courses taken up by lectures.
The matter has been shelved to November 26.