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Teachers Unions Rub Of School Opening Prospect

By Branton Matondo

Schools should not be opened on the basis of poor teacher incapacitation and covid 19 jeopardy for both teachers and student’s, a senior official said.

National Secretary General for Amalgamated Rural Teacher’s Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) Robson Chere discouraged any prospect for school resumption citing teacher incapacitation and government ignorance of teacher safety as the major reasons.

“It is 100% inappropriate to open schools or even to think of opening schools. We have always been clear that teachers do not need any form of fake increments or salary increase but the restoration of the pre October 2018 in which teachers salaries was from USD $540 and above.

The fake increment coming in at a time when prices of basic commodities have increased and that will not change the plight of the teachers who are incapacitated due to man made poverty.

Covid 19 is on the rise yet most schools are not complying with Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) due to limited resources to avail safety measures,” said Chere.

Chere blamed government for failing to create dialogue between employer and employee and remarked that government is pursuing ‘divide and rule tactic’.

“Government has always not been committed to genuine dialogue with teachers. On a number of occasion when we engage the employer on the need to have genuine dialogue with workers we have seen the employer resorting to use divide and rule tactic sometimes by inviting certain yellow unions leaving the others or even going to the extend of threatening teachers with salary cessation. As legitimate teachers union representing the interests of over $35 000 teachers in Zimbabwe we are committed to genuine dialogue with our employer,” added Zhou.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) President Dr Takavafira Zhou recently commented on slim prospects of school resumption indicating that teachers should not be allocated poverty salaries.

“The current lowest paid teacher gets $13300 and the 45% increment by Minister Mavima takes that figure to $18620 which is less than US $200, a far too short amount to meet the minimum expectations of the restoration of purchasing power parity for teachers,” said Zhou.

Zimbabwe is currently under strict localised lockdown in Kwekwe, Karoi, Chinhoyi and Kariba and the President Emmerson Mnangagwa recently enacted stricter national lockdown measures.