THE Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) has threatened to take legal action over government’s recent move to recall all teachers on leave and frog-march them to their respective schools for a countrywide staff audit.
BY XOLISANI NCUBE/ NQOBILE BHEBHE
Zimta chief executive officer, Sifiso Ndlovu told NewsDay yesterday that the cancellation of their members’ vacation was a serious violation of their labour rights.
“Vacation leave is a right and this idea that teachers are recalled without explanation and the leave days are cancelled without due process is untenable. Our lawyers are taking this issue to the courts because it is a violation of the labour law,” he said.
Early this week, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry released a circular ordering all teachers on leave to report to their various workstations in preparation for a second staff head-count by officials from the Civil Service Commission.
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 will 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 are strongly advised to comply with the directive without fail.”
Ndlovu described the directive as discriminatory, as it only affected teachers, leaving out other civil servants who were also on leave.
“We are really shocked by our ministry’s move to unilaterally cancel leave days for our members. We only got the letter on January 14 and signed by a permanent secretary, who seemed to have been excited with power. It states that the move is effective from January 1. We were never consulted on that,” he said.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president, Takavafira Zhou said his organisation was still consulting its membership for an appropriate course of action.
“We had agreed to go on a go-slow, but this directive seems to be targeting our membership. We want to warn this regime that if it wants to violate our rights as workers through intimidation and unilateral decisions, we will take then head-on,” he said.