TEACHERS have vowed not to return to work at the beginning of this year’s third term if government fails to review their current salaries to match a purchasing value of US$550 before government abandoned the multi-currency system.
By Everson Mushava
Progressive Teachers Association president Takavafira Zhou said teachers would negotiate with government during the holidays and if no inroads were made, an industrial action was unavoidable at the beginning of the third term. “Failure to make inroads on these issues will see industrial action by teachers with effect from the beginning of third term. This is a message that government must take seriously if it dreams of bringing stability in schools in particular and the country at large,” Zhou said.
“We have also been tasked with negotiating a reasonable rescue package over the holidays, provision of land for accommodation purposes, effecting a non-payment of tuition fees for at least three children of every teacher and dissolving the Apex Council and replacing it with a robust negotiation chamber in line with section 65 of the Constitution and ILO conventions 87 and 98, which Zimbabwe has ratified.”
Most pupils write their examinations during the third term.
Government last month gave its workers a $400 cushioning allowance after bitter negotiations with the Apex Council, the umbrella body for all civil service labour unions to avoid a crippling strike. The offer came after government reintroduced the Zimdollar to circumvent the increasing demand for United States dollar-salaries by its workers. However, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and other civil service labour unions rejected the increment, describing it as a mockery, considering the ever-rising cost of living. The PTUZ described the Apex Council as a government appendage, existing only to aid government in oppressing its workers, an allegation the council rejected.
“Our members have been insisting on industrial action even this term, but after serious deliberations, we have been tasked with ensuring that government reviews the current salary in line with maintaining the purchasing value of the pre-inflationary US$550 monthly salary,” Zhou said.