Avoid manipulative leaders, teachers told

In his address, ZIMTA outgoing president Richard Gundane called on members to avoid manipulative leaders in the association.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) outgoing president Richard Gundane has called for transparency during the association’s elections to choose new leaders this week.

Zimta is currently holding its 39th extra-ordinary national conference in Harare where teachers would also elect their leaders.

The meeting ends this Wednesday.

In his address, Gundane called on members to avoid manipulative leaders in the association.

He also highlighted the challenges caused by the uncertain economic environment such as the fuel crisis and basic commodity pricing.

The 39th extraordinary national conference is running under the theme; “Professionalisation of teaching and the role of social dialogue in teacher empowerment”.

Gundane said Zimbabwe’s macroeconomic environment in the last four years had significantly impacted teachers whose income declined due to currency volatility and membership degeneration.

“Our base year 2019 saw negative effects after 2018 fiscal policy changes that caused devaluation of the ZWL (RTGS) via inflation.

“The year 2020 started with disruptions caused by Covid-19 and associated geopolitical instabilities, which set the stage for elevated inflationary pressures and global financial conditions marked by interest rate hikes,” he said.

Gundane said inflation rose from two digits to three digits figures, moving from 56% in 2021 to 244% in December 2022.

“The foregoing shows how teachers’ purchasing power was eroded, thereby weakening it in terms of addressing mandates and therefore forcing us to prioritise and de-prioritise execution of mandates,” he said.

He said teachers’ demands were being influenced by the current economic situation characterised by high inflation and reduced worker salaries.

“Our salaries have been eroded since 2018 as a result of geo- politics. The world is now 50-50 but teachers and employers are still 50-0,” he said.

Gundane said the conference was organised under a backdrop of financial challenges and force majeure.

“The past four years saw the disruption of school activities, Zimta functions, administrative mandates, and lives and livelihoods.

“The Covid-19 pandemic was a devastating experience and at its onset, we were already smarting from the effects of climate-induced challenges as reflected in Cyclone Idai.

“Cyclone Idai wreaked havoc in Chipinge, Chimanimani and neighbouring areas. ZIMTA responded to the call for humanitarian assistance. The drought of the 2018 to 2019 agricultural season also impacted on the welfare of members. He highlighted that a policy on disaster reaction

Zimta acting national secretary general Goodwill Taderera said the association should adopt a new culture of responsiveness to members.

“It was noted that membership had been declining and negatively impacting on the Association's financial status. The importance of concentrating on demographics as a guide to decision making in order to entice young teachers.

“Government should fully implement the constitutional provisions of Amendment Number 20 Act of 2013. The Act will regulate the Collective Bargaining Council and Teaching Professions Council (TPC),” he said.

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