Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) are planning to engage with Zimbabwe’s security body the Joint Operations Command (JOC) over a planned industrial action on a salary despite with the government. JOC is a supreme organ that coordinate state security in the country.
Workers accuse the government of using security apparatus, including the police to curb industrial action.
“Our recently convened congress resolved to deploy our leadership to engage the Joint Operations Command, (JOC) to avert the victimization of teachers by state agents,” Mudzitirwa says.
“We warn government and school administrators to refrain from the sick culture of targeting teachers who are tabling genuine labour grievances. We will pursue all remedies to put an end to this debauchery.”
Teachers resolved to desist from reporting for duty until the dispute over salary is met according to the ARTUZ spokesperson.
“The teachers are severely incapacitated since they are earning an equivalent of US $ 35 per month. The proposed increment by government falls way below the legitimate expectations of the hard-working teachers,” Mudzitirwa says.
“Government last paid teachers a full salary in September 2018, we have been earning 7% of the last negotiated income. Attempts to engage the government have been futile since then.”
“Employer has been calling for endless pity parties which have not yielded any positive result. Countless petitions have been submitted but no favourable response has been received as yet,” he went on.
ARTUZ encouraged the government to urgently pay teachers a living wage to save our education from collapse.
“The pursuit of Sustainable Development Goals is derailed by the underfunding of critical sectors like education,” Mudzitirwa said.
“Teachers will not pretend to be teaching under these untenable conditions lest we hazard destroying the future of our learners and our nation.”
“The drop in 2019 grade 7 pass rates is a clear testimony of erosion of the quality of our education,” he went on.
Acting Primary and Secondary Education minister Amon Murwira in response to the plan industrial action said he was aware of the concerns by teachers, but said the matter was being handled by the Public Service Commission (PSC) and an announcement would be made soon according to local media.
“We have hope, I have hope, but at the moment, this is being dealt with the PSC and an announcement will be made regarding that,” he is quoted.