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Apex Council leadership faces boot

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APEX Council team leader Richard Gundani is under fire from executive members who accuse him of inept leadership following his alleged failure to ensure the effectiveness of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) resulting in issues affecting civil servants going unaddressed.

SENIOR REPORTER

The Apex Council is the umbrella body for civil servants’ labour organisations including the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta), Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Public Service Association (PSA) and College Lecturers’ Association of Zimbabwe.
NewsDay understands that a meeting at which a vote of no confidence was likely to be passed against Gundani’s leadership has been scheduled for today.

The development followed reports by acting Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Walter Mzembi that the NJNC had collapsed.

Mzembi recently said there were no negotiation teams on the part of the government and the workers because the government team leader Maxwell Ranga was offered an ambassadorial post while NJNC chairperson Nelson Sambureni resigned.

PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe yesterday accused Mzembi of lying. He said the minister was taking advantage of Gundani’s weak leadership, which he said was sitting on its laurels while civil servants’ issues were not being resolved.

“As the PTUZ, we are saying Gundani must step down and (PSA president Cecilia) Alexander must take over. Tomorrow we are having a meeting where we will push for Gundani to step down because he has betrayed the workers’ cause,” Majongwe said.

He accused the Apex Council of not being vocal at a time when only teachers have received bonuses while the rest of the civil servants were still to access their 13th cheque.

“Once again it is very clear that government is taking advantage of a poor and compromised Apex leadership if ever it is there. For the record, we will not celebrate the paying of bonuses because they were long overdue and they actually complicate our 2015 payment schedules,” Majongwe said.

He said as civil servants they were concerned over the shifting of their salary payment schedule, the outstanding non-monetary incentives issue, conditions of service for teachers in rural areas and were demanding an urgent NJNC meeting before the schools open on January 13.

Gundani was not reachable yesterday.

Meanwhile, Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (RTUZ) national co-ordinator Brighton Makunike and activist Douglas Chafa were detained by the police on January 5 on charges of inciting public violence. The RTUZ information department said in a statement the duo was part of a team that was mobilising for a demonstration demanding bonuses and a compensatory rural allowance.

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