THE government has cancelled teachers’ vacation and ordered all teachers on leave to report to their various workstations in preparation for a second staff head count by officials from the Public Service Commission, NewsDay has established.
by STAFF REPORTER
The physical count is part of government’s ongoing physical audit of its workforce to flush out suspected ghost workers believed to be milking the civil service payroll.
The directive is contained in a circular dispatched last week to all school heads across the country.
The circular, dated January 14, 2016, read in part: “Urgent. Vacation leave has been cancelled. All heads are being directed to recall all teachers who had applied for vacation leave for term one 2016. Schools would be visited by the Public Service Commission Inspectorate soon to ensure that all such members have assumed duty. Therefore, all members who had gone on vacation leave are strongly advised to comply with the directive without fail.”
The circular was signed by Education secretary Sylvia Utete Masango.
Last year, government conducted a similar exercise and withdrew salaries for over 3 000 teachers allegedly found missing at their workstations.
Primary and Secondary Education minister Lazarus Dokora refused to comment on the matter yesterday and referred all questions to support staff at his offices.
“You can call the ministry’s spokesperson. I can’t help you on that,” he said.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou accused government of “flagrantly flouting labour laws” and urged his union’s members to ignore the directive.
“One wonders why it has become so fashionable for the ministries to flagrantly flout labour laws in Zimbabwe,” Zhou said.
“There is no doubt that the ministries are moving the clock backwards to the notorious colonial Master and Servant Act as teachers have not been consulted. As if it is not enough, the law is applied in retrospect, selectively and discriminatorily as other civil servants on leave have not been recalled. One wonders why a permanent secretary writing on the 14th of January has the temerity to assert that the changes apply with effect from 1 January 2016 unless she is using a calendar of the opposite.”
Zhou added: “PTUZ advises its members not to return to their respective stations unless they receive a written communiqué to that effect. We encourage members to submit photocopies of the recall communiqué to nearest PTUZ offices so that we can approach the courts to challenge the unfair labour practice.”