BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
AN opposition MDC-T senator last Thursday said teachers who were not reporting for work should leave employment and let unemployed qualified teachers take over.
Masvingo senator Tichinani Mavetera asked Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa, who is also leader of the Senate, to explain government policy on striking teachers.
“Mr President, teachers are now striking or giving threats. My question is: if government is negotiating with the representatives of workers, are they open to each other because right now people are tired in the country?
“There are endless talks between government and the teachers. If they cannot accept what is being given by government, they must retire and leave an opportunity for qualified teachers who are not practising,” Mavetera said.
Mutsvangwa, who responded on behalf of the Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Mathema, said government was committed to improving the working conditions of teachers and to ensure normal learning at schools.
“Government is trying its best to see that teachers are well-paid and is open to negotiate with its citizens. Children must be educated. Salaries continued to be paid during the COVID-19 lockdown, which shows the government’s commitment. Therefore, the teachers must also work together with the government. If our children fail to go to school, we have failed generations to come,” she said.
“Our country, Zimbabwe, is known for better education. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation rated Zimbabwe as number one in Africa. Therefore, as Zimbabweans, we must focus on this issue (education) so that we know what legacy we are trying to leave for this country.”
Mutsvangwa said 90% of the teaching staff was attending lessons.
Since last year, teachers have been on industrial action demanding to be paid between US$520 and US$550 which they used to get in 2018, or its equivalent.
Last week, civil servants rejected a 70% salary hike offered by their employer.
Civil servants have since pleaded incapacitation and resolved that they will only report to work twice per week.
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