National Constitutional Assembly leader, Professor Lovemore Madhuku, said that the decision by the Government to suspend striking teachers is illegal.
This comes after Primary and Secondary Education Minister Evelyn Ndlovu on Thursday announced the suspension of all teachers who failed to report for duty when schools opened on Monday.
Prof Madhuku said the Minister does not have the authority to suspend teachers because they are employees of the Public Service Commission (PSC). Wrote Madhuku on Twitter:
Teachers cannot be suspended from work by a Govt Minister: they are employed by the PSC.
Even the PSC itself has no power whatsoever to effect a blanket and mass suspension.
The purported suspensions are unacceptable. Govt must dialogue with teachers’ unions and address issues.
Harare lawyer and Citizens Convergence for Change (CCC) spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, also condemned the suspension of teachers. She said:
This is patently unlawful & betrays the failure of the regime to negotiate with teachers in good faith. You know full well that teachers are incapacitated.
You made an offer to them just yesterday now you turn around to intimidate? Pay teachers a living wage. End of story.
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.
In fact, those purported suspensions are a nullity. They are of no force or effect. Such cheap intimidatory tactics demonstrate the regime’s disdain for workers.
The Public Service is regulated by the Constitution. That @MoPSEZim memo is illegal.
In a statement, Ndlovu said that all the striking teachers will be suspended for three months without pay. The statement read:
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education would like to inform the Nation and its valued stakeholders that all officials within the Ministry who absented themselves from duty since the official opening of schools on 7 February 2022 have been suspended without pay forthwith, for a period of three months.
During this period of suspension, members are not to hinder or interfere with any investigation or evidence relating to the alleged misconduct.