The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MOPSE) announced on Thursday that it has suspended, without pay, all officials within the Ministry who have not reported for duty since the opening of schools on the 7th of February.
MOPSE said the suspension is for a period of 3 months.
Teacher unions say the number of suspended teachers is around 135 000 which constitutes 90 per cent of all the teachers in the country.
In response to the development, Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC) national spokesperson, Advocate Fadzayi Mahere, it was not the workers’ fault that they could not report for duty. She said:
You don’t suspend an employee through a press statement. You have to indicate the nature of the charge they are facing. You cannot bully employees who are acting within the confines of the law. Is it a crime to be incapacitated? Do better.
A huge number of teachers has not been reporting for duty since Monday when schools reopened saying they are incapacitated despite the government increasing their salaries by 20 per cent and a further US$100.
They want the government to restore the US$540 salaries they were being paid until October 2018.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) described the suspension as barbaric and urged parents to respond. Said PTUZ on Thursday:
We were very correct. This level of barbarism, deviousness and cruelty can only be exercised by people with no children in public schools, and therefore not at all affected by the decision to burn down the education house to spite teachers and parents. Parents should respond!!!!!
Some said intimidation will not work while some said government officials do not care about the effects of the move, which include the closure of some schools, since their children are in private schools or abroad.
Teachers have periodically embarked on industrial action over salaries in the past two years.