The Zimbabwe Rural Teachers’ Union (ZRTU) says teachers are ready to resume work but the Government should provide PPE to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in schools.
Speaking in an interview with The Manica Post, ZRTU president, Martin Chaburumbunda, said:
The ministry must ensure the presence of enough masks, sanitisers and washing points in all schools for learners, teachers and ancillary staff. All schools must have efficient ways to screen students and staff.
They should also be able to act with speed when COVID-19 cases are detected. Such facilities must be at each school, especially in the remote parts of the nation.
Chamburumunda urged teachers to report for duty while they engage in dialogue with the Government over their remuneration. Said Chamburumunda:
Inflation has eroded teachers’ earnings such that they can hardly afford basics like groceries, transport, school fees and clothing.
These are genuine grievances and we implore the employer to critically look into these issues and adjust teachers’ salaries in tandem with the prevailing economic situation.
Our members and their children are going to school on Tuesday and the pressures are being felt even more at this juncture, hence our appeal to the employer to explore means to cushion teachers as they discharge their mandate.
National Association of Secondary Heads (NASH) president, Arthur Maphosa said:
Our only concern at the moment is that we are approaching winter. This means schools need to double their precautionary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 in schools.
Apart from that, we are very ready to reopen and do not foresee any major problems.
Schools still require assistance from Government and its partners to put in place preventative and detective measures for COVID-19.
There is also an outbreak of a cold, so schools need expert assistance to be able to differentiate between COVID-19 and the common cold.
… If a strike happens, then it will be unfortunate because it will certainly disrupt learning and affect innocent learners who should be catching up.
There should be a way of finding each others between the employer and the unions to avoid this from happening. That is the best solution.
Last term the Government offered teachers a 20 per cent pay increase backdated to 1 January, a total of US$175.
However, teacher representatives are calling for a minimum salary of US$520 or the equivalent in Zimbabwe dollars at the auction rate.