TEACHERS yesterday shelved plans to go on strike and will today report for duty after the Government offered civil servants a 10 percent salary increment and improved other perks.

Teachers’ leave days have been reinstated while transport and housing allowances have also been increased by 10 percent.

 Six teachers’ unions which fall under the Federation of Zimbabwe Educators Union (Fozeu) — Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Zimbabwe Teachers’ Union (Zimta), Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union (Artu), Zimbabwe National Teachers’ Union (Zinatu), Zimbabwe Democratic Teachers’ Union (ZDTU) and Professional Educators’ Union of Zimbabwe (PEUZ) —had threatened to strike — a move that would have disrupted the start of the second term today.

Schools open today and teachers had threatened to down their tools demanding a salary rise and improvement of their working conditions.

But yesterday, teachers’ unions represented by the Apex council met Government under the aegis of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) and resolved that a strike was not the best option at the moment.

In an interview, Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) chief executive officer Mr Sifiso Ndlovu said Government has agreed to some of the educators’ demands while room for negotiations was opened up.

He said it was also resolved that teachers would soon meet President Mnangagwa to present their grievances.

“We are asking our forces to stand down for the time being and also to accommodate developments which have taken place now. What we have is that we have had an opportunity to talk to the Minister of Primary and Secondary Education (Professor Paul Mavhima) who was accompanied by special negotiators,” said Mr Ndlovu.

“Their plea was that we negotiate and see whether we cannot talk more and eventually meet the Minister who is responsible for Public Service, and eventually meet the State President. So to give those processes due respect and accommodation, we may want to do that (stand down).”

He said the Government has also agreed to initiate a 10 percent salary rise for teachers while reinstating their leave days.

“It has also been agreed that teachers who have had an excess in the number of days be allowed to sell them for cash. And this will begin with effect from July. They have also promised that with effect from July, there’ll be a 10 percent package rise meaning the salary. The housing and transport allowances will be raised by 10 percent,” Mr Ndlovu said.

Apex council chairperson Mrs Cecilia Alexander, who was part of the NJNC, reiterated that the situation was far from reaching an impasse and urged teachers to report for duty today.

She said Government has agreed to a 10 percent salary increase for all civil servants.

“We believe there has been progress in terms of negotiations. We encourage them to go to work while we negotiate to make Government improve on their offer. They came up with a 10 percent offer and made presentations to put us into perspective about how the economy is performing,” said Mrs Alexander.

She said the union has called on the Government to improve on the 10 percent offer as she expressed optimism that some of their demands would be met.

Mrs Alexander said civil servants’ lives will improve when the Government initiates the command housing project. zimpapers