By Farai Matiashe
Government has threatened to deduct salaries of civil servants who went on strike without the blessing of the Apex Council.
A majority of teachers across the country have not been reporting for duty since Tuesday, citing incapacitation due to high transport costs and poor salaries.
The striking teachers are demanding their salaries to be paid in United States dollars or a minimum of $1 700 in bond notes.
Public Service Commission (PSC) chairman Vincent Hungwe said discussions between government and the Apex Council on the improvement of conditions of service for civil servants were still continuing in the context of the National Joint Negotiating Council.
“The Apex Council has neither declared a strike nor declared deadlock in the negotiations. The commission has since been made aware of the isolated cases of abscontment by a minority of teachers at specific schools across some districts and provinces in the country,” Hungwe said in a statement.
“Accordingly and in keeping with applicable regulations, the commission advises members that unauthorised non-attendance at workstations will result in corresponding deductions from the salaries of the offending individuals on the basis of the principle of “no work no payment’.”
The commission said some sections of the civil society continued to report at their workstations in the interest of the public, who are entitled to their uninterrupted service.
Hungwe said incidents of intimidation or coercion to withdraw labour should be reported to law enforcement agents and the Primary and Secondary Education ministry and PSC inspectorate agency was to continue monitoring attendance and take action to contain instances of abscondment in all schools.
Yesterday, many pupils in some parts on Harare were sent home after most teachers did not report for work.
The Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) and the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said about 80% of their members have heeded the call to withdraw labour since Tuesday and they were calling all of their members to go on strike.
“The government has not positively responded to our call for an improvement into our working conditions and remuneration. The industrial action intensifies tomorrow and we call upon all our members not to set foot at schools,” Zimta and PTUZ said in a joint statement.