17 November 2020
Revolutionary greetings comrades. It is clear that Apex Council was dribbled by government on 13 November 2020.
Firstly government unilaterally announced a 40% salary increase and 10% risk allowance without engaging workers which is clear arrogance of the worst order and failure to respect fair labour practice.
Secondly, the Friday NJNC meeting was called as a fait accompli or to rubber stamp government already enunciated decision.
There was nothing done to discuss sector specific allowances for education.
Nothing was done to discuss discrepancies between teachers and other civil servants. It is unpalatable to pay teachers $18000 and pay other government workers $28000-$50000.
Most importantly, it is totally erroneous to believe there was no other way as deploys in the Apex Council would want us to believe. Apex should have pushed NJNC to declare a deadlock, refer the case for arbitration. We are convinced teachers have a legitimate dispute of right rooted in the government unilateral reduction of salaries from US$520-US$550 to US$40 and that dispute can be decided in favour of teachers by an arbitrator. Why we are not using this provision remains a mystery.
The best foot forward for Monday NJNC meeting is therefore to declare deadlock and push for arbitration. If, therefore, Apex Council leaders hope to get some semblance of respectability from teachers, they must push for a declaration of deadlock so that the issue of teachers’ starvation wages is referred for arbitration. Of course we cannot harvest apples from a thorn tree. There may be need for teachers across the unions’ divide to push Apex Council to pursue the deadlock and arbitration route.
There is virtually no struggle without casualties. All the same the United Front of teacher unions must budget for protracted legal battles in order to minimize losses and maximize gains. The current submission of names of incapacitated teachers must never be used for punitive measures against teachers as in essence it is the government that incapacitated teachers. Above all, we have taken all the necessary procedures of communicating the plight of our members to Public Service Commission (PSC), line Ministry and even President of Zimbabwe as Ptuz and as United Front.
As teachers we remain ready for meaningful dialogue and ready to resume our work, but must not be treated in a callous, degrading and servitude manner. We are workers with family responsibilities and not slaves. Our welfare, health and safety matter.
Dr Takavafira M. Zhou (Ptuz President)