Wednesday, 30 September 2020

MINISTER : I DON'T KNOW WHY TEACHERS ARE ON STRIKE

 Teachers have vowed to continue withdrawing their services over unmet demands, but government yesterday said it was unaware of their grievances.

Addressing a post-Cabinet media briefing, Primary and Secondary Education minister Cain Matema said he was not sure why his charges were not reporting to work.

“I am not quite sure formally what is it that the teachers’ unions want except for what I have seen in the papers, looking at stories in the papers they talk of lack of PPE [personal protective equipment] and that they are incapacitated. I said early on, the government is providing PPE for all teachers right across the board so the issue of PPE as said by teachers doesn’t seem to hold water at all,” he said.

Mathema added: “On the other hand, government does understand the issue of teachers’ salaries, that’s why as government and teachers representatives, civil servants representatives we are in the middle of negotiations. In spite of that, government and the President directed that civil servants be given an allowance of USD$75, so that issue is being dealt with. We are saying government has already offered, not excluding teachers.”

Teachers have written to government demanding a salary of US$520 or equivalent, saying their current salaries had reduced them to paupers.

Teacher organisations confirmed yesterday that most of their members had withdrawn their services citing incapacitation.

Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president Obert Masaraure revealed that schools in Matabeleland North, Mashonaland East and Matabeleland South were the most affected while urban schools had better attendance of both teachers and learners.

“It is official, no learning is taking place nationwide on day two of schools opening. Teachers are incapacitated, learners are ill-equipped for the learning season.

“Artuz members took heed of the call for job action on the second day of schools opening. We also congratulate sister unions who are continuously mobilising their members for action.

Our efforts are not in vain. The workers will be free,”Masaraure said. Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Takavafira Zhou said more teachers had boycotted classes on day two of schools’ opening for examination classes.

“Most teachers who reported for duty yesterday did not do so today. Several pupils did not go to school today after realising the futility of reporting to school where there are no teachers. Teachers’ anger has also been exacerbated by reports that the government is preparing to give soldiers double the cost of living adjustment that would be given to teachers.”

“Teachers are increasingly being embittered by the government’s intransigent and irresponsible approach. They are more and more determined to forge ahead with the incapacitation struggle and demand a living wage pegged at US$520. It’s game on and there will be no defeating, no surrender until final victory,” Zhou said. Newsday

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