Several teachers unions on Sunday said they will take action against the Government for withholding salaries of their members who were not reporting for work because of “incapacitation”.
Some teachers have reportedly gone for 10 months without a salary after school heads forwarded their names to the Public Service and Labour ministry for not reporting for duty, a move unions said was unconstitutional.
In a statement yesterday, Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president Takavafira Zhou said the Public Service minister Paul Mavima should learn to respect the law. Said Zhou:
(Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare minister Paul) Mavima must be schooled to respect the law so that should he assume that teachers have absconded from work as he did, he must order the Primary and Secondary Education ministry to summon teachers for hearings rather than use the colonial Master and Servant Act to dock teachers’ salaries under a misplaced ruse of ‘no work, no pay’.
We, therefore, want to overemphasise the point that the so-called absenteeism must be clearly taken in its proper perspective of incapacitation.
We, therefore, urge teachers whose salaries have been docked to contact unions of their choice in order to embark on natural justice in defence of the teaching profession.
He also accused some school heads of mischief by submitting teachers’ to the Government to settle old scores. Said Zhou:
A considerable number of some school heads are also Nicodemously sending names of teachers to education offices without the courtesy of informing teachers who are surprised to find themselves without pay on payday. The system is also used to settle old scores in schools.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) secretary-general Goodwill Taderera cited Matsine Secondary School in Wedza where teachers’ salaries were docked.
Taderera called on other unions to come on board to defend the rights of teachers.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) president Obert Masaraure said teachers are failing to report for duty because they are incapacitated. He said:
It is not because they don’t want to, but it is because they are not capacitated. We don’t want to rely on the courts of law because we know the law has never favoured the working class.
He said his union would mobilise forces to resist the exploitation of teachers through protests targeting examination time.