Schools open today amid swirling confusion as regards the educators’ strike. The widespread labour unrest has the potential to cause unmetered damage and chaos.
The teachers unions have vowed to press on with their demands saying they will not go back to the classroom if government fails to meet their demands which include salaries in US$ or alternatively 3 000 bond notes.
We implore the government to step up and meet half way with the educators’ demands for the sake of our children. Being sincere in their promises will also help to build trust. This is essential in any negotiations. Threats of the strike were communicated in ample time and government could have avoided this sticky situation by tackling it head on before schools opened.
We believe while the teachers have valid demands critical in creating a conducive learning environment, there are also other glaring factors that cannot be ignored. We are aware that the government is already seized with the doctors’ strike, and threats of teachers’ strike and possibly the rest of the civil service could have jolted the authorities to come up with measures to mitigate the potential civil unrest.
No doubt that the economy is at its worst hence government, educators and doctors must be able to meet halfway especially for the benefit of the children.
We call on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime to come up with solutions and not try to suppress dissent for the sake of it when they know that the majority are suffering as a result of the poor performance of the economy.
There is no doubt that if government does not put something on the table for the striking doctors, teachers and their counterparts in the civil service this may spell disaster for the country.
Civil unrests by their nature are spontaneous, and so we pray that the country does not get there, and that authorities will be able to deal with teachers’ demands, doctors and other disgruntled civil servants as a matter of urgency. Their demands are not out of this world. They have families to look after.
Clearly, the only sensible thing for government to do is to allow business to operate in a free environment in which government does not interfere as is the case. Let the market regulate itself. Given we have a basket of currencies among them the US$, South African rands, Chinese yuan and the surrogate Zimbabwe bond note, the market should be allowed to regulate itself over these.
But we have seen that the major problem is stemming from government trying to regulate the market, hence the demands of pay in the US$ by the various stakeholders is legitimate. We have always said if government forces the market to trade in bond note which in this case has turned out to be bad money, good money will be chased out. So now please Mr President can you sort out this mess.
The lost time for leaners no matter how justified will never be recovered. Any delays especially for examination classes will affect the smooth flow of lessons and ultimately leaners will be affected.
It boggles the mind how government refuses to honour the demands of the educators when they have succumbed to doctors. Every civil servant has the right to some increment this time around.
Both negotiators should however take cognisance of the damage the industrial action would have on both learners some of them beginners, the educators and government, and whether Treasury has the capacity to honour the demands under the circumstances.