EDUCATION, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education Minister Michael Kaingu has appealed to striking lecturers at the Copperbelt University (CBU) to resume work as their work stoppage was illegal.
Meanwhile striking CBU lecturers have remained resolute to their stance to have Vice-Chancellor Naison Ngoma and his management out of the institution.
Dr Kaingu said the Government was aware of the challenges that CBU was faced with for many years which could be resolved through dialogue but it was important to ensure that lecturers at the second largest institution resumed their work.
Dr Kaingu made the appeal in Livingstone yesterday after he officially opened the Library and Information Association of Zambia (LIAZ) Annual General Conference held at Chrismar Hotel.
He said he had a meeting with Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) on Friday where they agreed that the CBU strike by lectures was illegal and that the academic staff was supposed to go back to work as some of their grievances were being looked into.
Dr Kaingu said a bad precedence would be set if one of their demands of firing the top four management staff was going to be followed because that would be a wrong way of doing things.
He said Government would not tolerate any illegality in the country and urged the lecturers to do the correct thing.
“Our colleagues, the CBU academic staff, are demanding that we fire four of their management staff.
“We cannot do that because it will be a bad precedence for the country. We cannot just fire people just because people are protesting, the best we can do is to dialogue when there is a problem,” Dr Kaingu said.
Dr Kaingu said that the Government would only fire someone if it was very sure that a particular person had failed to perform in that particular position and area of need.
He said lecturers in institutions of learning must stop the habit of holding students hostage each time they wanted to air their grievances with the relevant authorities.
Dr Kaingu said using student in such an event only disadvantaged the learners and appealed to them not to be used.
The lecturers have however remained resolute to their stance to have Professor Ngoma and his management out of the institution.
The lecturers have since come up with alternatives to be presented to Dr Kaingu on how to proceed in dealing with the matter involving the embattled Prof Ngoma and his management.
CBU Academics Union (CBUAU) president Mwiya Songolo said at a press briefing yesterday which was preceded by the union general meeting that should Dr Kaingu fail to take on board the alternative of ensuring the quick exit of Prof Ngoma as vice chancellor and his management by next week, he should then fire the lecturers.
“We are still resolved to continue with our vote of no confidence that Prof Naison Ngoma and his management should be dismissed.
“For now we are not asking them to resign because they have failed to show the moral part of it and if the minister fails to take on board the alternative which we have given him, the best thing is to fire us,” Mr Songolo said.