BY VANESSA GONYE
TEACHERS yesterday said they will only report for work three days per week due to incapacitation and government’s failure to attend to their salary grievances.
Last week, the teachers downed tools over the high cost of living after rejecting a 100% salary increase offered by government saying they would only return to work when their salaries are pegged in United States dollars.
Although nurses have gone back to work after agreeing to give negotiations a chance, teachers’ unions yesterday said their low salaries can only allow them to report for work two or three days per week.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe vice president Christine Kayumba said her union has also decided that its members would wear black every Tuesday to mourn the death of the education sector, as well as push for the release of their president Obert Mararaure who they feel has been wrongfully accused of murder.
“We have made consultations with our members. And they are grossly incapacitated. They are unable to report for work. We resolved that they will report for work for a maximum of two days per week on Mondays and Tuesdays,” Kayumbu said.
“Masaraure is also innocent. He wasn’t at Jameson Hotel when this fateful death of his colleague happened. He was never called as a witness. The inquest report dismissed any foul play. We demand the unconditional release of our leader Obert Masaraure,” she said.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said: “Our members are willing to go to work, but do not have the money. They can only manage to report for work three days per week with the hope that their employer (government) will fix the crisis soon. If we get to the next pay day without any positive changes, we will reduce the days of attendance again.”
Zimbabwe Teachers Association acting secretary general Goodwill Taderera said: “Teachers are in schools especially where I hail from. However, they are reporting for duty out of fear that their salaries will be cut.”
Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education spokesperson Taungana Ndoro downplayed the teacher’s job action saying it was only an insignificant 3% who were absconding from duty.
“As we speak, we have a 97% turnout for duty and the claims that teachers are now on a two-day working week are false. Since last week they have been reporting for duty and I think with the just announced raft of measures by the Finance Minister (Mthuli Ncube) things should be falling in place now,” Ndoro said.
Teachers have been on a cat and mouse chase with government for several years now over poor remuneration and conditions of service.
They want their pre-October 2018 US$540 salaries to be reinstated.
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