Categories: Zim Latest

LATEST: Zimbabwe teachers down tools over poor work conditions

ZwNews Chief Correspondent

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Dr Takavafira Zhou says the wait is now over, as teachers down their black board dusters and chalks, to begin industrial action.

“The instruments of combat have been sharpened over a long period and today teachers are pulling the trigger to send them clanking into gear. Teachers across Zimbabwe are embarking on a total withdrawal of labour in order to push for the improvement of their salaries and conditions of service,” he says.

In order to get a reasonable salary and improvement of conditions of service, it is important to totally and peacefully abandon classrooms, school libraries, staff rooms and administrative blocks; Zhou adds.

Never in history have teachers been united as now, more so following Ptuz, Zimta, including Artuz) joint declaration of strike and other teacher unions amplification of industrial action. However, they have been reports that the government has infiltrated the unions in order to bring disharmony.

“The causes are loud and clear,that both the pathetic cushion of $54 up to March and the 18% on $284 starting salary post-dated to April, fall far short of ameliorating pathetic salaries and conditions of service of teachers, more so given the erosion of the purchasing power of their salaries by bondrisation, hyper inflation, sky rocketing of basic commodities and needs.

Worse still government has failed to show common sense by engaging civil servants in endless negotiations when under normal circumstances all issues must be resolved in three meetings after which issues are referred for arbitration or workers resort to industrial action to open a new chapter in negotiations,” he adds.

He adds that theirs is a purely labour dispute with no political undertones.

The 4th of February witnessed unprecedented attempts to stifle the industrial action with inundation of schools by security forces, some threats by party functionaries to jettison teachers from their employment and replace them with some unemployed teachers.

Union officials were also taken to police stations for interrogation in all provinces, while some party officials incited youths to eject incapacitated teachers from schools. This is regrettable and callous in a country 39 years after independence.

He urged parents not to waste money by sending their children to schools as all level headed teachers would be away, and students that they would be the major beneficiaries of this industrial action as well paid teachers would return to classes with vigour and enthusiasm to design better methods to cover up for any time lost, let alone impart life serving skills to students. Zhou adds that it is dangerous to entrust the future of students in the hands of dejected, disillusioned, miserable, and angry teachers.

Be that as it may, in some rural areas, it has been reported that some youths from the ruling party (ZANU PF) have been given directives to visit schools and write down the names of the teachers who do not report for duty. This has however been seen as a violation of labour practices, where employees are going to be victimised, at the hands of the state.

 

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