HomeHeadlinesTeachers say to strike over poor pay, govt says action retrogressive

Teachers say to strike over poor pay, govt says action retrogressive

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BY PATRICIA SIBANDA/PRAISEMORE SITHOLE

THE Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) says its members will go on strike beginning today, a week before “O” and “A” Level students are due to sit for the November Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) examinations, to press government for a salary increase.

Zimsec examinations are scheduled to start on November 22 for “O” Level candidates, while “A” Level and Grade 7 examinations will commence on November 29.

Last week, government said it would pay its workers United States dollar bonuses up to US$700.

Information secretary Ndavaningi Mangwana told NewsDay that the strike would be retrogressive.

Artuz president Obert Masaraure said their withdrawal of services was a result of reluctance by government to listen to their concerns.

“Artuz has made a pledge for total withdrawal of labour starting on November 15, 2021 until November 27, 2021 after extensive consultation with our membership nationwide, and communication of such has been shared with the membership, public, relevant stakeholders and the government,” he said.

“The major thrust of this decision and the impending action is informed by the continued reluctance by the employer to engage with teachers to review our pathetic and meagre salaries. Teachers are suffering a lot and being continually ordered to sacrifice is an insult of the highest order. We will no longer be driven to the abyss of slavery and lack of recognition for the value of our
work.

“The momentum is on our side, the law is on our side and we should not be intimidated by an unfocused and uncaring parasitic employer who masquerades as a hero to everyone but in actual fact is just a sophisticated version of a slave regime.”

Masaraure said parents should not send their children to school in solidarity with the educators.

“Things are coming to a head tomorrow. Teachers in Zimbabwe are not demanding El Dorado, but are demanding a living wage in line with the agreement of the pre-2018 October salaries,” he said.

Yesterday, Mangwana said government was not aware of the strike action, but described it as retrogressive.

“We are not aware of the strike, but there are many teachers’ unions. If one group decides not to cover the examinations, I am sure some groups will cover it. I am simply saying this without saying names of unions, but I am sure some will not agree to it,” he said.

“Not all teachers will agree with leveraging school pupils. It’s like holding a knife on the throat of a child and threatening the government that you will kill the pupil. As government, we are not aware of this, but why would teachers go on strike at such a time.”

Last week, Public Service and Labour minister Paul Mavima told NewsDay that government was still negotiating with civil servants over their salary demands.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said his union would stand with Artuz.

“We are expecting the government to show seriousness. The newly-appointed Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Evelyn Ndlovu, was supposed to sit down and check for areas that need serious attention, for instance the welfare of teachers in the current situation.  Recruiting more teachers will not address the fundamental problems that teachers are facing,” he said.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu accused government of not engaging trade unions to hear their concerns.

“We do not have a listening government and all it ever does is sideline us whenever it makes decisions. It thinks we are not important at all,” he said

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