Civil servants plead poverty

TEACHERS yesterday said they were too poor to go back to work as schools open countrywide today, piling pressure on President Emmerson Mnangagwa to solve the worsening economic crisis.

BY EVERSON MUSHAVA/VANESSA GONYE/ALFONCE MBIZWO

Artuz members picket outside New Government Complex, where Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s offices are housed, yesterday

This came as talks to resolve the impasse with teachers failed, while doctors voted to continue their month-long strike for better working conditions.

Addressing journalists after a meeting with Labour and Social Welfare acting minister July Moyo, Apex Council acting chairperson Thomas Muzondo said civil servants welcomed the government’s commitment to negotiations, but their members will not continue working until their employer addressed their conditions of service.

“So for now, as government workers, we are not on strike, but you may see some other workers not reporting for work and it is really because of incapacitation and not a strike per se,” Muzondo said.

“At this point in time, we are saying our members are unable to continue with the service. We are not saying they are on an industrial action, but they are incapacitated. They (parents) should send pupils to school; fees have gone up and their (teachers’) salaries are still static. Basic commodities have gone up five or six times, but salaries have remained static over the same period.”

Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) president Richard Gundani told NewsDay that all workers organisations in the Apex Council provided evidence to government of impoverishment at the meeting.

“We showed how incapacitated teachers and the civil servants are as a result of the spike in prices and the erosion of the salaries and justified why teachers are not able to go to work. There is unanimous agreement by all workers who were in attendance that salaries have to be reviewed,” he said in response to questions.

“Government responded by directing that the process of negotiation, which had collapsed, should begin in order to find solutions to the problems. The meeting ended with workers insisting that incapacitation was an urgent matter that would only stop after teachers are paid salaries commensurate with the obtaining prices.

“Zimta’s declaration of incapacitation stands until a solution is found. However, we appreciate dialogue with government at ministerial level and the frankness that characterised (yesterday’s) engagement.”

Teachers want to be paid in United States dollars, or alternatively, at least $3 000 in the surrogate bond note currency, among other demands.

The meeting was chaired by Moyo and attended by Higher Education minister Amon Murwira and a number of permanent secretaries from various ministries.

Moyo called the meeting in a last-ditch attempt to stop a proposed nationwide strike by restive government workers.

Addressing journalists before Muzondo, Moyo said government had an offer ready for civil servants that would soon be tabled at the National Joint Negotiating Council.

“The conclusion of this discussion is that there should now, whether immediately now or tomorrow, go into negotiations, where government will offer in terms of ameliorating the plight of civil service in the areas that they have demanded in transport in salaries and in other non-monetary issues such as housing,” he said.

“Now that we have discussed broadly, they should go back to the Joint Negotiation Council because it is the statutory board that can come up with signed agreements for us to go forward. So, ours was a consultative meeting and that is why we did not want to discuss in the open glare of you members of the media and that is why we are briefing you members of the media.

“Yes, government has an offer certainly and they will discuss. They will discuss and agree on timing, on certain parameters and the civil service, on the trade unions side, they can also offer many alternatives. For example, if there is an increase, shall it apply to everybody across the board or do we favour those who are impacted only?”

Moyo said government explained to the workers on the challenges faced in the economy and the wanton and irrational price increases and government’s commitment to cushion its workers.

“Normally, those who are junior, whose salaries are much lower, who are impacted on by the same conditions in the economy, so that we will leave to them to make proposals, but that is when government has given them an offer,” he said.

Doctors at public hospitals, who have been on strike for over a month, met at major referral hospitals across the country and voted to continue their job action until government reviews their salaries and working conditions.

In a statement, the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors’ Association (ZHDA) said some of its members who had gone back to work yesterday had rejoined the strike.

The statement was released after meetings at the country’s four major referral hospitals, where the doctors conducted a secret vote to decide if they should continue the strike or return to work.

Sources close to the developments told NewsDay that doctors based at Parirenyatwa, Harare Central and United Bulawayo hospitals voted overwhelmingly for the strike to continue, but Mpilo Central, with a split vote, eventually decided to go with the majority decision.

“The ZHDA members have, therefore, remained incapacitated and will not be able to resume normal duty until these matters have been addressed by the employer,” the statement read.

“It is important to note that the available ZHDA members who had shown up for duty in various hospitals have since indicated they will be re-joining those at home until the grievances have been met.”

Since Saturday, when government claimed it had resolved the situation, a widening rift was forming among the striking doctors, as some reported for duty yesterday, while the rest carried on with their industrial action.

The strike had forced government to reach out to the military to provide relief at public hospitals.

Harare Central Hospital chief executive officer Nyasha Masuka confirmed that several of the striking doctors reported for duty yesterday, but were yet to write letters confirming their return to work.

On the deployment of army staffers to provide relief services in hospitals during the absence of the striking doctors, Masuka said they had been given the greenlight by Health permanent secretary Gerald Gwinji to request for help from the uniformed forces to cover for the shortage created by the striking doctors.

15 Comments

  1. if you are too poor to go back to work then stay at home and let the government recruit other unemployed teachers who are tired of loafing in the interium and we see how it goes there will give the government another 5 years or so

    1. You are very right many unemployed teachers out there

    2. if you are too poor to go back to work then stay at home and let the government recruit other unemployed teachers who are tired of loafing in the interium and we see how it goes there will give the government another 5 years or so

      The above comment is utter nonsense. Can the writer put him/herself in the same shoes with that of the disgruntled teachers?

    3. Gadzirisai zvinhu zvenyu

      Nonsensical thinking. This will only be short term because they will also soon realise they are working for nothing as well and stop going to work.

  2. There are no qualified Doctors, Nurses Health Service Providers Teachers loafing a few who are there have turned down that offer in solidarity with their peers besides knowing they will be similar circumstances in less than a month. Uniformed forces have no real competences on health services as well as the teaching fraternity, only a government with zero care for its citizens will allow such a situation its like sending ‘first aiders’ to a hospital ward full off casualites with broken limbs. It is not true that nothing is beyond a military man, the Gen. who is a VP is living evidence.

    1. Do you really mean that the doctors, teachers lawyers etc who are in the military were not trained in the same institutions? how do you mean they have no real competences?

      1. How many are they, dofo

  3. i think the Gvt should introduce national service and idiological reorientation to all aspiring Teachers and doctors to create battle hardened minds and not cry babies and salads fambaka netsoka woenda kubasa or use bhasikoro seweku industry wodyawo maveji nederere nemupunga, problem they set themselves lofty standards in there dreamworld which is not possible in current Zim dzidzai nekujaira nhamo

  4. Wezhira Wezhara

    EVerson Mushava, Chamisa’s mouthpice indeed. We heard the Teachers’ representative live on ZTV news yesterday when he said there was no need to strike as negotitations were going on smoothly. The Minister (Moyo) said civil servants could start salary negatiations even yesterday or today as the Government had an offer. Even your quote below is pathetic but you inderectly admit

    “So for now, as government workers, we are not on strike, but you may see some other workers not reporting for work and it is really because of incapacitation and not a strike per se,” Muzondo said.’ I think your quote here could have been made at Harvest house.

    Report objectively not to politicize Government business. Elections are over and there is no change come soon till 2023

  5. Paucharwara kana kufirwa nehama ndopauchaona kuti Dr ngavabhadharwe vanhu varapiwe. Ukaona uchida kuti paitwe national service yekuti maprofessionals who invest their money and time in education vashandire mahara in the name of “battle hardened” nonsense then chiziva kuti hausi kuziva kuti modern world yakamira sei. Vanhu havaendesi vana kuchikoro kuti vakuiitirei national service. Funga fees, uniforms and professional qualificationa kuti iwe uitirwe national service. Ko wadii kuitirwa national service nevana vako nehama dzako. Vanhu vane pfungwa dzakadai havadi nyika nehurumende yavanonyepedzera kuda. Dai vaida mapoliticians aya nenyika vaivapa pfungwa yekupedza matambudziko ari kusangana nevanhu zvachose kwete kuvafurira nekuti vanhu vakaita nzara chero pfuti, majere, manyepo, kutyisidzira hazvivamisi. Dzimwe venguva veruzhinji kana vachiti manyanya kutitsikirira zviri nani kuvanzwa pane kuedza kutsvaka nzira dzekuvatsikirira more nekuti imi muri kudya muchiguta moona kunge vanhu vese mafuza. Misi haifanani. Vamwe vakaudzwa kuti majere enyu nezvitokisi hazina kufita kugarwa nevanhu vakachenama nekuti vaive kuHome Affairs vakazoshama voona vakandwa imomo ivo. Kuita zvakanaka hakuurai. Haurambi uri mutongi, haurambi uri mupurudziri wezvakaipa, haurambi uri musoja, mupurisa, gavhena kana minista. Uchazozvidawo zvakanaka wabude kunze kwezvakakudzivirira kuti upofumare.

  6. Mavege nederere tinotoda kudyawo nekuda kwedu kwete kumanikidzwa nekuti bond harichatenga uye kuti muhoro haukwani musangomhanyira kutaura zvisina basa nekuti muri vana vezanu

  7. Sanctions should go

    muchingotaura zvamunotaura budget remaMPs for both ZANU and MDC where they shared a rare union has been increased upwards imi muchitura zvekurwadziwa nemafees. Life has never been fair. Just for campaigning. Biti was never going to win but just for joining Chamisa zvake zvakabva zvaita and he won. Machiremba aya eventually they will have money an they will have a lot of it. Its expensive kurapiwa muZim than SA. Vanocharger vanhu ivava, ikozvino ngavamboita zvekuti vave ne experience. Two years idzodzi dzavanenge vakabatwa dzichingopera chete hauchavatangi. If you want to see how ruthless they are, enda kumasurgery avo uwone……. Hakuna anonzwira umwe munhu urombo. nxaaaaaa.

  8. We should not be too dogmatic to embrace induced poverty as a lifestyle.
    We have to evaluate both sides of the coin before shifting blame to the striking civil servants as it takes two to tango.
    How has the govt reciprocated with our taxes? We have to hold it accountable on matters of health, fighting corruption, fighting poverty and fighting illiteracy as the four agendas should not, over and above, be negotiable.
    Our current experience is a ripple effect of predatory leadership over time.
    Be that as it may, let us all participate in seeking a quick breakthrough to salvage victims of circumstances suffering therefrom.
    Good luck, nonetheless!

  9. Your Name (required):Special Black

    This hyper inflation was created by some political parties esp MDCA. They knew very well that if prices of goods and services are high, all , even patriotic civil servants will feel the pain. Now that they have archieved the initial stages of their plan, they keep on using those that have felt the pain, from pensioners going up to the middle income bracket. Now all what is needed is to define the bond note in the Zims economy. Is it US Bonded or not? The gvt should find a way to solve this.

  10. Fools will talk about MDC A even if it is stupid to do so .Bottom line is ED must go now if he is patriotic and loves this country he must accept failure and step down . Chete chete .

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