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Teachers threaten strike


Teachers have resolved to go on strike tomorrow to press for the review of their basic salaries to approximate the poverty datum line (PDL), review of transport and housing allowances and reintroduction of rural allowances.

The teachers are also demanding an immediate stop to political or professional victimisation of their members and the removal of 75 000 “ghost workers from the national payroll”.

Yesterday, PTUZ said the strike would commence tomorrow countrywide until their demands were met.
However, there was still confusion as PTUZ and Zimta disagreed on whether to embark on a nationwide strike or not.

PTUZ urged all civil servants to go on strike. They claimed civil servants were wallowing in poverty while government ministers, senior government officials and parliamentarians had awarded themselves handsome salary increases.

“There is no shared misery. Government will argue that there is no money, but its spending habits towards the luxury of senior officials proves otherwise.

“Government is not committing itself to a time frame for concluding salary negotiations. How are we expected to manage our hopes when there is no indication when the negotiations will come to an end?

“It is better for our children to be taught for 50 days by a happy teacher than to be tutored for 180 days by a teacher who is totally overpowered by misery,” said PTUZ in a statement last night.

While PTUZ is asking civil servants across the board to down tools, Zimta called for restraint, at least until the end of the month.

“The strike beginning on the 22nd of June is anchored on the review of basic pay to approximate the PDL, review of transport and housing allowances, reintroduction of meaningful rural allowances, an end to victimisation of teachers for both professional and political reasons, and reluctance by government to remove 75 000 ghost workers from the national payroll.”

Zimta said: “Zimta urges all its members to stay put at their work stations during this month (June), and thereafter a position will be taken if the authorities fail to deliver on the reviews of salaries for civil servants as promised.”

The union said it was guided by the National Joint Negotiating Council meeting of June 1 where all Apex member unions were represented and an acknowledgement was made to observe due processes.

Last week, the Apex Council was divided on the course of action to take over civil servants’ salaries with the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), advocating confrontation with the government while others believed ongoing negotiations should be allowed to run their course.

PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou confirmed the divisions and accused Apex president Tendai Chikowore, who is also Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) president, of failing to convene a meeting so that civil servants could take collective action.

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