The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) says it has noted with concern the move by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to suspend striking workers for three months without pay for demanding a living wage.
ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo has demanded that the Government reverse the suspension of the teachers, saying the move violates the laws of the country. He said:
What is more worrying is for a government that just wakes up and suspends workers without following due processes.
The laws of this country are very clear and of all institutions, the Government ought to know better.
We strongly condemn such a knee-jerk approach to a national crisis. It is not a secret that workers are suffering from the economic hardships spurred by the ever devaluing Zimbabwean dollar.
The devaluation of salaries was a result of government policy through the promulgation of SI 33 of 2019 that distorted wages and the government must, through the proper channels, address its mistakes and restore the value of wages and salaries.
Moyo expressed the ZCTU’s full support for the teachers saying that they are fighting a genuine cause.
He accused the Government of downgrading the teaching profession from a once “noble profession” and the envy of many to a “laughingstock”. Added Moyo:
Teachers used to be venerated in society but now have become the laughing stock of the community. We need to restore the dignity of both the teachers and the classroom.
We roundly condemn the government for suspending the striking teacher and demand civility in dealing with such issues as well as reverse such pronouncements without prejudice to teachers.
The government should also respect workers’ rights to freedom of expression, collective bargaining processes as well as social dialogue.
ZCTU reiterated its call for the government and all employers to pay a living wage and other benefits in United States Dollars.