The Progressive Teachers Union Zimbabwe (PTUZ) says schools are not ready to open for the first term as the five fundamentals that can guarantee the successful opening of schools are lacking.
In a statement on Sunday, PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou identified the fundamentals as the ability of teachers to report for work, the ability of parents to pay fees, meaningful engagement between the Government and teachers’ unions, motivation of teachers and, the prioritisation of health and safety of teachers, learners and ancillary staff in schools in order to combat COVID-19.
Zhou said instead of addressing the issues, the Government has resorted to command and control tactics by declaring that schools are ready to open this Monday. Said Zhou:
To expect a teacher that earned $19 000 to pay school fees for his/her child at $190 000 in some boarding schools where fees have been approved by the Government is a ludicrous hallucination of the worst order.
He said the only remedy is for the Government to engage teachers and restore their purchasing power parity pegged at US$540. Zhou said:
… the only remedy to the suffering of teachers is the restoration of the purchasing power parity of their salaries (UD$540) as well as myriads of education sector-specific allowances agreed upon over the past five years but that have fallen short where it matters most, viz, implementation.
Teachers have a locus standi (legal right) to claim US$540 as this salary was culled without engaging them or their representatives and was therefore callous and a monument of unfair labour practice.
Having exhausted all possible means to restore the US$540, tired of the Government prevarication and firefighting antics, cognisant of Government unwillingness to address their plight teachers of Zimbabwe have unwaveringly, unflinchingly, resolutely and resiliently declared their incapacitation to the Government.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Paul Mavima appealed to teachers to report for duty as schools open for the first term this Monday saying their grievances are being addressed.