The Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), has declared incapacitation ahead of the opening of schools next Monday and has pleaded with the Government to act on civil servants’ poor salaries as a matter of urgency.
In a statement this Friday, ZIMTA president, Richard Gundane, said teachers are not able to return to their workstations to assume their duties. Said Gundane:
The Salary levels earned in January 2022 are inadequate to support transport needs for commuting to various stations in the rural areas and to support daily commuting by teachers in urban areas.
Educators have failed to pay school fees and buy uniforms for their children, let alone failure to subsist as families, a scenario that has pushed educators to moonlight.
Without a meaningful salary increase, educators have no way of going back to assume their duties.
Gundane also criticised the Government for not taking teachers’ grievances seriously during the last National Joint Negotiating Committee (NJNC) meeting held last month.
He said the NJNC meeting “did not give an aorta of hope, instead it squandered all the goodwill that educators had credited the negotiating platform with.” Gundane added:
Teachers now postulate that the USD $75 .00 COVID-19 allowance was a make-believe gesture meant to pull the wool over their faces so that the State would appear it cared about teachers’ welfare.
Teachers’ patience has been overstretched and now feel provoked, underrated, thought off and abused, a strong feeling of disdain has been generated on the negotiating structures.
Due to the reasons above, ZIMTA now declares a state of incapacitation and now informs relevant authorities, parents, and stakeholders of this unpalatable situation in the education fraternity.
The ZIMTA president warned the Government against pushing teachers and the rest of the civil service to embark on job action. He said:
We urge the responsible authorities to conclude the salary issue now and further desist from the tendency of throwing teachers and indeed the rest of the civil service into cyclic industrial disharmony.
ZIMTA stands by the recommendations of the many teachers in the public schools and many civil servants tormented by the poor salary and employment benefits awarded negligently by the employer.
Last month the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) also said teachers are financially incapacitated and are therefore not ready for the reopening of schools.
In a letter addressed to the Public Service Commission (PSC) and copied to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education (MOPSE), dated 29 January 2022, PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe accused the Government of “spoiling for a fight” with its employees.