In a joint statement, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (ZIMTA) have agreed to call the educators on industrial action after a failed negotiation with the government on salaries.
Teachers, with other civil servants, were in negotiation with the government over salaries, which have remained stagnant as prices of basic commodities went up.
“We have agreed as follows: that starting from the 5th of February 2019, all our members shall exercise their right in terms of section 65(3) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.20) Act, 2013 by embarking on collective job action (strike),” reads the statement signed by PTUZ and ZIMTA secretary generals Raymond Majongwe and Tapson Nganunu Sibanda.
“This essentially means our members will be withdrawing their services/ labour and will not be reporting for duty with the effect from the said date.”
The two unions say they were irked by the fact that the government is offering meagre salary adjustment and ‘cushioning’ allowances which are akin to a slap on the face of their membership as they are far from addressing the economic challenges faced.
PTUZ and ZIMTA also arrived on the decision after having afforded dialogue with the employer a chance on countless meetings in order to resolve the grievances that were raised by their members including erosion of purchasing power of teachers salaries and the rise of prices of basic commodities and services.
Trade unions also say they are realising the need to restore the teachers’ dignity and to enable teachers to be capacitated in every aspect of their lives by obtaining salaries which are meaningful and above the poverty datum line.
The trade unions have also noted that the dispute with the government has since escalated without any final resolution.
The government offered $300 million more to civil servants in negotiation on salary increments.
The government’s focus is also on availing its workers with non-monetary benefits that are critical in enhancing their livelihoods besides giving salaries.