The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has said school heads were ordered to report on teachers who failed to report for work from the 7th of February when schools resumed to the 22nd. The government previously announced that workers who did not report for work will not get salaries. In a statement, seen by Pindula News, PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou urged teachers to request written communique from their school heads instead of verbal communication. We present the statement below:
Teachers Be Guided Accordingly
2 March 2022
It has come to our knowledge that following a meeting between Head Office and DSIs yesterday, DSIs were hard-pressed to charge all school heads and teachers who were incapacitated from the 7th to the 22nd. And also to report on teachers who failed to report for work by the 22nd. DSIs were ordered to elicit the co-operation of school heads to charge teachers, after which they will deal with school heads. The Ministry’s assumption is that teachers were not incapacitated but absented themselves unnecessarily. DSIs have therefore descended on school heads, some of whom have now joined the bandwagon of trying to punish incapacitated teachers by ordering teachers to write letters to explain where they were between the 7th and 22nd of February 2022.
Teachers must be warned against taking illegal instructions from their school heads. Verbal communication in Public Service are responded to verbally. We urge teachers to request for written communiques from their school heads instead of responding to verbal communication. If one gets such a written communique he/she must note that you have 14 working days before you can respond to the written communique. Use the 14 days to get advice from the Union on how best to respond.
We also want to advise some overzealous school heads that it is dangerous to try to use the unlawful requests from DSIs for witch-hunting and settling scores with teachers at their respective schools. The best school heads should do is to allow the employer to carry the unlawful exercise on her own. We also wonder why even the head office is preoccupied with a non-issue to them. They must allow teachers to engage their employer in terms of the laws of the land. Incapacitation is real. As a Union, we notified PSC about the incapacitation of teachers and PSC never bothered to respond to our communique. It is clear that PSC understands that teachers are incapacitated but the line Ministry is bitter at the incapacitation of teachers, when ordinarily the line Ministry must be amplifying teachers’ incapacitation to the employer, Cabinet, etc in order to bring normalcy to the education system.
We urge all our members and non-members to trade very carefully over the verbal requests from their school heads. We also encourage school heads to act responsibly and not suicidal, and never try to use the confusion from head office and DSIs to punish teachers. The best school heads should do is never to submit any name but advice the DSIs to get names of all teachers from the pay sheets if they so wish.
Teachers must realise that we are dealing with an arrogant line Ministry. We encourage teachers to remobilise for any possible action soon. We cannot allow the triumph of evil and stifling of labour rights in the profession 42 years after independence. Patriotic teachers must unite to defend the profession that has fallen from grace to grace with monotonous regularity. No amount of threat and brutality can silence incapacitated teachers.
Dr Takavafira M. Zhou, PTUZ President