Talks fail to break NUL deadlock

MASERU — Talks aimed at breaking the impasse between management and lecturers at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) ended in deadlock on Monday, the Lesotho Times has learnt.

The stalemate comes as students at NUL petitioned Education Minister ’Mamphono Khaketla to intervene and order management to reopen the university.

The university was shut down on October 12 after lecturers downed tools demanding a 15 percent salary increment.

NUL director of communications and marketing, Phomolo Lebotsa, yesterday told the Lesotho Times that a meeting between management and the Lesotho University Teachers and Researchers Union (Lutaru) ended inconclusively as it failed to come up with any resolutions.

“The last meeting we had on Monday reached no resolution. We are still continuing with negotiations,” Lebotsa said.

Lebotsa said Lutaru had informed the NUL management that they will only suspend the strike if management agrees to hike lecturers’ salaries by 9.5 percent and supply all lecturers and researchers with computers and photocopiers.

The union has been demanding a 15 percent salary increase for lecturers but says it is willing to suspend the strike until June 30 next year if management agrees to award the 9.5 percent.

However, Lutaru president Ramohapi Shale yesterday denied that there was ever a meeting that took place between the union and management.

“No meeting ever took place,” Shale said when he was asked for a response.

In a petition they handed to Khaketla on Monday the NUL students said the minister should order the university’s management to reopen the university.

“On behalf of the students of the National University of Lesotho, the Student Representative Council (SRC) cordially wishes to petition you against the indefinite suspension of classes by the university management since October 12, 2011,” the
students said in the petition.

“This petition humbly requests you exercise all your official powers to do whatever it takes to open the university with immediate effect for the sake of the students and the nation as whole,” they added.

The students also requested that they be allowed access into the university premises to access the library, internet and residence halls.

Khaketla could not be reached for comment yesterday as her phone was unreachable.

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