BY BRENNA MATENDERE
TEACHERS have indicated they will not be able to resume work when schools open for the third term today citing incapacitation due to erosion of their salaries and the recently advanced cost of adjustment in the wake of increasing prices of essential goods and services.
More than a fortnight ago, government awarded civil servants a 76% salary adjustment which amounts to about $500.
However, Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president Obert Masaraure told NewsDay that his members will not be able to go back to their work stations.
“Members of Artuz will not be going back to work as schools open. The transport fares and prices of other basic goods and services have stripped our paltry earnings and rendered us incapacitated,” he said.
“That (cost of living adjustment allowance) was a mockery on the welfare of the hard-working civil servants. Prices have shot up by over 500%, including government offered services. The same government then mischievously awards us a paltry increment of 76%. We refuse to call such an increment a COLA (cost of living adjustment). It is pathetic and serves to aggravate our suffering.”
Health and funeral insurance service providers have also increased their monthly premiums.
Masaraure said the development meant that when teachers received their allowances, the money had already been wiped away.
“We have entered the decisive moment of our struggle against slave wages and we will ensure that even public examinations are not written.
We urge all teachers to take heed of this call and force our employer to index our salaries with the interbank market rate,” he said.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou also highlighted that the union’s members are incapacitated.
“PTUZ stands guided by teachers who have said they are incapacitated. PTUZ has communicated teachers’ incapacitation to the employer and unless the employer brings a comprehensive offer to teachers, the third term will be punctuated by industrial disharmony and unrest, at a critical juncture,” he said.
“PTUZ expected government to promote industrial harmony and productivity, more because of the term’s centrality in preparing students for public examinations. The challenge in the education sector calls for a holistic approach rather than firefighting and suicidal approaches.”
Primary and secondary education minister Professor Paul Mavhima was not picking up calls when sought for comment yesterday. He also did not respond to messages sent to him. Both Primary and Secondary Education minister Paul Mavima and permanent secretary Tumisang Thabela could not be reached for comment.