Teachers threaten a stay away at the beginning of the first term

Teachers threaten a stay away at the beginning of the first term
Published: 05 January 2012 (1473 Views)
The Zimbabwe Teacher unionists have told a local paper that their members will stay at home at the beginning of the first term that opens next week if government does not pay attention to their demand for better salaries and working conditions.

Union representatives from the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) both expressed their impatience with government.

Both organisations, which are the main teacher representative bodies, say their employer has been acting in bad faith.

PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said the decision to strike would not be reversed unless government showed commitment to meet the teachers' demands.

"We know that government has money and we have been watching them.

"The fact that members of Parliament regrouped and fought for the balances of what they felt they were owed means that teachers can do the same," Majongwe said.

The trade unionist said his members would only go to work after negotiations over the increment were concluded.

"It is an unfair labour practice for an employee to get a job and be told that they will negotiate the package later.

"We want all teacher unions to unite and fight for one goal," Majongwe said.

Zimta chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu said his organisation was disgruntled by government's lack of commitment towards improving public servants remuneration.

The Zimta official said his organisation was scheduled to hold an all-night meeting to discuss the issue of remuneration tonight.

"We are registering serious disgruntlement on the lack of commitment to dialogue which should have been used to arrest the blatant anger and frustration caused by the remuneration paid to public servants," Ndlovu said.

Teachers earn between $250 and $320, which is way below the poverty datum line, considering that the bread basket for a family of four is estimated at $502.

Majongwe said his members wanted the lowest paid teacher to earn $500 plus transport and housing allowances.

He said it was "criminal" for parents to supplement teachers' salaries through incentives.

Over the past few years, teachers have been striking at the beginning of every term but teachers unions are now saying enough is enough.

Last year, President Robert Mugabe promised to double public servants salaries once sales from diamonds came through.

Finance minister Tendai Biti, however, maintains that government is broke.

An audit conducted by Ernst and Young last year revealed that there were at least 75 000 ghost workers who are on government payroll.

The audit has been thrown into the dustbin following protests by Zanu PF ministers, who have pushed for a fresh audit by an inter-ministerial committee.

- Byo24News

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