UBASSSU, Vice Chancellor at loggerheads over welfare

  • UB academics earn considerably less than their counterparts at BIUST and BUAN
  • UB Vice Chancellor says he hopes for a positive response from gov’t

MPHO MATSHEDISO

The president of University of Botswana Academic Senior Support Staff (UBASSSU), Professor Motsomi Ndala Marobela, has accused the Vice Chancellor of failure to address
issues of staff welfare.

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In an interview with The Botswana Gazette this week, Marobela said UB staff has never had a salary adjustment for inflation even after the union negotiations with management, save for a 3% percent salary adjustment in 2018.

“We met with our leaders on the joint negotiation committee (JNC) that brings management and unions together and put forward issues that workers within the university demand like equal pay with counterparts at other government owned universities,”

Prof Marobela said. “If we are not linked to the government paying structures, why are the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST), the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (BUAN) and the Botswana Open University (BOU) linked? They all have one linking thread because they are publicly owned universities. UB is not a private entity. Why do other universities get inflation salary adjustments and we do not?”

Professor Marobela added that the unions met with the university leadership in November of last year (2020) and the Vice Chancellor promised to write to the Minister of Tertiary Education. “We demanded a timeline for feedback from the minister,” he said.

“The Vice Chancellor went on leave in December, wrote a message about performance of the university and wished us well for the New Year but did not give us a report about our welfare.”

They met with the Vice Chancellor again at the JNC but did not get the right answers and we resolved that they could not trust him. “There is no integrity and there is no way we can trust him,” said Prof Marobela. “How do we trust the leadership when he promises us something and he does not give us feedback?

We did not get any letter from him in response.” “When you look at the stature of the UB, it deserves a double budget compared to that of BIUST and BUAN but we do not have anyone advocating for such things for us,” Prof Marobela said.

Not so, says Professor Norris. There have been two salary increments from 2018 of 3% and 4% adjustment without the intervention of government. According to the VC, the ministry is yet to provide the university with funding to help alleviate some of the concerns raised by staff members. “Government has said that there is no money yet,” said Prof Norris.

“We are still in dialogue and hope the response will be favourable.”

The Botswana Gazette is in possession of documents containing the pay structures of UB and BUAN. They show internal and external disparities between UB and BUAN and that academics at BUAN earn more than their counterparts at UB.

The structures show that UB academics take home P531,756 per annum while their BUAN counterparts take home P889, 179 per annum.