The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) has said it is ready to engage government in genuine dialogue to solve the current wage deadlock.
In a statement on Wednesday, ARTUZ said a hardline approach against educators would not yield a win-win situation, but would prolong the crisis and remove any room for dialogue.
Teachers embarked on industrial action when schools reopened on 7 February demanding the pre-October 2018 salary of USD540.
In response, the government then suspended 1 500 teachers and 50 school heads for three months without pay. ARTUZ says the impasse will only make matters worse. Said the union:
The situation in education is deteriorating at an alarming rate and it is the innocent learner who is most affected. Educators are victimised, threatened, arbitrarily arrested, suspended and expelled unilaterally.
The education crisis cannot be resolved through threats, suspensions and expulsions, but by genuine dialogue premised on the restoration of the pre-October US$540 salary.
The educators have approached the courts for redress.
Artuz accused government of using the divide and rule tactic to continue underpaying workers.
Government last month offered to increase all civil servants’ salaries by 20% and pay each employee an additional US$100 per month.
However, unions have rejected the offer and insisted on pre-October 2018 salary of US$540.
More: NewsDay Zimbabwe