The Minister of Public Service and Social Welfare, Paul Mavima, has warned teachers against holding the nation at ransom by threatening to go on strike each time schools open.
Speaking to NewsDay on Friday, 29 April, Mavima said that the Government will not hesitate to invoke the “no-work, no-pay” policy for teachers who are planning to absent themselves when schools open next week. Mavima said:
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.
However, teachers’ representatives insist that teachers are financially incapacitated and cannot report for work.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure said:
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.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary-general Raymond Majongwe asked the Government to urgently honour its $20 000 fees promise.
Last term, the Government pledged $20 000 in school fees for teachers’ biological children and housing loans.