BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA/MIRIAM MANGWAYA GOVERNMENT yesterday said it had addressed teachers’ salary grievances, adding that civil servants should be grateful to President Emmerson Mnangagwa for improving their welfare in terms of salary adjustments and other non-monetary benefits.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare deputy minister Lovemore Matuke told Parliament that government addressed civil servants’ grievances, although teachers had refused to report for duty after rejecting the 20% salary adjustment, an additional US$100 per month and other benefits announced last week.
“Most of the issues which were affecting the teachers were addressed. I think the teachers and civil servants had been appealing for a mixed bag so that they are not affected by the fall of the local currency,” Matuke told the legislators.
“I think we should thank the government for providing such a good reward. I do not think going forward, we will get teachers complaining, but as our economy improves, I think we will still revert to our Zimbabwe dollar 100%.”
But Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) secretary-general Robson Chere said there was nothing to thank government for as they were still incapacitated and unable to report for duty.
“There is nothing we can celebrate and thank the government for because the figures are far below what we are demanding and the government knows that we are not asking for salary increment, but restoration of the pre-October 2018 salaries and as such, the minister’s statement is a mockery,” he said.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) has threatened to dismiss the teachers if they do not report for duty on Tuesday, and replace them with college graduates and trained unemployed teachers.
But the graduate trainees said they would not take up the offer as they were in solidarity with their counterparts.
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Primary and Secondary Education minister Evelyn Ndlovu also confirmed in Parliament yesterday that the college graduates were not keen on taking up the offer.
“We cannot guarantee that they will not strike. We are not guaranteed that the teachers are not going to strike, but we assure that some of those given a chance can do well,” she said.
“We are saying those people are employed, they have not been employed for a long time and I hope that they are patriotic enough to feel for the children.”
Ndlovu made the statements after student teachers petitioned government to pay their allowances in United States dollars for them to meet their learning costs.
The student teachers, who are attached at various schools, said the “meagre” allowances they were getting were not enough, hence they were failing to fulfil their teaching practice requirements.
The students want government to increase their allowances from $16 000 to at least US$400.
National Council of Student Teachers president Walter Muzamani said they “are on go slow” because of “incapacitation”. “The requirements for our teaching practice need money,” he said.
“We need classroom displays, teaching and learning aids, record books among other things and one has to spend at least $10 000. The remaining money from the $16 000 goes to fees and the student is only left with just US$75 allowance.
“A student teacher needs to look presentable, food, transport, so the $16 000 is not enough to cover all those expenses. As student teachers, we are not on strike. However, we are on go slow.”
The student teachers urged government to urgently address the concerns of the qualified teachers saying it was affecting their teaching practice.
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