Charles Mabhena

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has called on all government employees and teachers in particular to engage on a go slow until their plight has been addressed.

In a statement, the ARTUZ national President, Obert Masaraure said the year 2017 is a year to demand a share of the national cake for the education sector and for the poor.

He said the fraternity have to fight for a share on the table, as those dining may not offer it to them on a silver platter, adding that their bonuses are part of their national share of the cake.

“This go slow will escalate into a fully blown strike if the issues remain unresolved.

“Yes a fully blown strike when we all put our tools down until our dues are paid,” he said.

He said street protests are also on the cards to force their employer (the government) to disburse their overdue annual cheque for 2016.

Masaraure said organising workers is a collective effort for the working class; “To that end, we invite workers from other sectors to join our fight their fight. Let’s build synergies as we confront the capitalists and stooges occupying government offices.

The government has been failing to pay its employees in time, and in most cases the teachers are among the last to be paid, with top priority being given to the uniformed forces including the CIOs.

Some teacher had also urged their employers to rotate the pay dates for all civil servants so that at one time they get the chance of getting paid first ahead of others, than being always treated at second class employees.

Most teachers in rural areas work under deplorable conditions, where they fetch water from shallow wells dug on river beds, with no proper facilities like electricity, this, compounded by unpaid salaries and bonuses is a de-motivating factor to them and affect their dedication to duty.

Some civil servants had to contend the just ended holiday without pay let alone bonuses. Despite President Robert Mugabe being also a trained teacher himself, he seems to have forgotten the critical role this noble profession has in the development of a nation. Teachers deserve to be respected they are the heart of development, they set the foundation of a prosperous future generations, they build a nation by giving a solid foundation to the future leaders.

One speaker once said; ‘a teacher wielding a chalk is mightier than a soldier wielding an AK 47’ while the other a journalist once said ‘a pen is mightier than the sword’ the two add up to almost the same thing.