Confusion as schools open

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Schools open today amid confusion over whether teachers will work or stage a “sit-in” following conflicting directives by unions yesterday.

Teachers earn around $250 a month. The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) called on its membership to embark on industrial action to force government to improve their salaries and conditions of service.

But the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) appealed for patience, saying negotiations “must be given a chance first”.

PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou urged teachers to “sit-in” and await the outcome of tomorrow’s meeting with the Public Service Commission.

“As a measure of our frustration and as an initiative to buttress the Apex Council ultimatum for government to conclude negotiations before the 11th of January 2011, I call upon all teachers to stage a sit-in when schools open on the 10th of January while awaiting further instructions,” Zhou said in a statement.

“We have been reduced to stepsons and stepdaughters of the marriage of convenience between Zanu PF and the MDCs. We have no trust in the inclusive government anymore.

“At one time we were made to believe that the selling of diamonds shall dress neat our wretched lives. This song is no longer being played.”

However, Zimta president Tendai Chikowore said both the Apex council, representing all civil servants unions, and Zimta had decided to wait for tomorrow’s meeting before deciding on what action to take.

“Tomorrow, we are reporting for duty until we go through with the process we set for ourselves.

“We have a process and we are waiting for the 11th of January so as to have an outcome on the course of action we will take,” said Chikowore, who is also Apex Council president.