A SHOWDOWN looms today between government and teachers after the latter vowed that they would not report for duty without an adjustment to their salaries.
Government has, on the other hand, threatened to dock salaries for workers who absent themselves without leave.
Teachers Unions yesterday said their members were incapacitated to report for duty today for the first term after salary negotiations between civil servants’ unions and government ended in a stalemate last week.
The unions said teachers would only be able to resume duty once government has restored their salaries’ purchasing power to the pre-October 2018 level of US$520 to US$550 or equivalent in local currency.
The National Joint Negotiating Council to deliberate on the cost of living adjustment and other matters that relate to the welfare of civil servants ended in a deadlock on Friday after the workers rejected the 25% salary hike offered by government.
The meeting came after the Zimbabwe Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (ZCPSTU) threatened a full-blown strike.
Schools are opening today for examination classes, with the rest of the learners returning on March 22.
Zimbabwe National Teachers Union chief executive officer, Manuel Nyawo said: “Teachers do not even have bus faresto travel to their respective schools. Sadly, the Public Service Commission (PSC) has resorted to using dirty tricks to force-march teachers to their workplaces without considering how they can make it without money. It is already a month after the previous month’s payday and the little money teachers received in salaries is already used up.”
He said the PSC should stop its “militaristic, authoritarian and draconian” leadership style it is using to cajole teachers back to work. “Teachers do not eat and survive on threats and that style will never work in modern democracies,” he said.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president Obert Masaraure concurred, saying: “Our members remain incapacitated and this will not be affected by outcomes of the cost of living adjustment negotiations.”
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said civil servants were demanding “a robust, frank productive dialogue with the same PSC that decides to threaten people who are trying to engage it peacefully. Authorities should leave behind the (late former President Robert) Mugabe’s tactics of persecution and vindictive politics in resolving the issue of poor wages. This is a simple labour matter that needs sober leadership to address”.