BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA/SHARON BUWERIMWE GOVERNMENT yesterday urged teachers to be patient while it addresses their salary demands as it cannot change their salaries each time schools open.
Schools will open next week on May 3, and already educators have threatened not to report for duty saying they are incapacitated because their salaries have been eroded by inflation. Teachers want government to revert to their pre-October 2018 salary of US$540.
Public Service minister Paul Mavima yesterday told NewsDay that teacher’s packages cannot be changed everytime schools open.
“We just changed the package for teachers, and we cannot change that package each time schools open,” Mavima said.
“We are getting into the second quarter, and we need them to be patient and go through the negotiation process. If there is any need for a review, it will be determined during the negotiation process.
“We must also realise that there was something special that we did for teachers including the $20 000 per child school fees package, which will support up to three children in government institutions.”Read more…
Mavima said government would be introducing other benefits such as building housing for the teachers.
“This will be institutional housing so that we don’t have problems and teachers have to be in very good decent housing. We are undertaking that aggressive programme to provide housing for teachers,” he said.
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He, however, warned teachers who are planning to absent themselves when schools open next week that government will not hesitate to invoke the “no-work, no-pay” policy.
“That’s not acceptable, we can’t have a situation whereby each time we are about to open schools, teachers say they want to go on strike. It doesn’t work like that. There is a whole architecture of negotiations with the Public Service Commission and their federation, which meets government to discuss conditions of service for civil servants. So it’s not acceptable for teachers to hold the nation at ransom each time we open schools,” Mavima said.
Teachers, however, shot back at Mavima’s threats saying he will not force-march them to report for work next week because they are still incapacitated.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president Obert Masaraure said the high cost of living had made it impossible for teachers to report for work.
“The Constitution provides for the right to strike. Mavima cannot criminalise the right to strike, and by the way, teachers never said they wanted to strike. They are on collective job action because they are incapacitated. The cost of living is high and has made it impossible for teachers and other workers to commit themselves to their duties,” Masaraure said.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said: “We have made our own submission; we are asking for a rescue package for teachers, they should honour their $20 000 fees promise as a matter of urgency.”
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