The Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has advised teachers who are yet to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to report for duty on Monday (tomorrow), as usual.
In a statement, PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said teachers should not listen to “unsubstantiated utterances” by some government officials that those who have not received COVID-19 vaccines will be barred from their workplaces on Monday. Said Zhou:
We have read in the press and from unsubstantiated utterances by government officials that non vaccinated civil servants must stop reporting for work forthwith.
As PTUZ we encourage teachers to be vaccinated but by no means should such encouragement be misconstrued for mandatory vaccination, but voluntary vaccination.
The quandary over the issue of vaccination is that there was never an engagement between government as employer and civil servants representatives (employees), particularly teacher unions. The order is therefore a unilateral declaration by the government.
He said according to standard operational procedures, education officials should communicate directly with the unvaccinated teachers and order them to stop coming to work. Added Zhou:
We however advise teachers that it is unprocedural for them to stop going to work on the basis of generic communication that has no specific names.
In terms of standard operational procedures, unvaccinated teachers must continue to report for work until they receive communiques specifically in their names informing them to stop coming for work. Verbal instructions from school heads are invalid.
Zhou, who is also a senior MDC Alliance official, said school heads should compile lists of all unvaccinated teachers at their respective schools, capture the reasons for non-vaccination and send them to districts for onward conveyance to province, Head Office and the Public Service Commission (PSC) and wait for formal instructions from these respectable offices. Said Zhou:
Every case must be determined on its merit and we encourage administrators, education officials and PSC to navigate this quandary in a professional manner, never mind its one-armed banditry origin.
The deadline for civil servants to get vaccinated lapsed last Friday with indications that the government would terminate contracts of those that have not been fully vaccinated.
Public Service Minister Paul Mavima said civil servants with genuine reasons for not being vaccinated will be given time to get jabbed.
Health Ministry Secretary, Jasper Chimedza, said that unvaccinated civil servants would be sacked as per some provisions of Statutory Instrument 234 of 2021.