Monday, 8 November 2021

TEACHERS DEMAND FOREX BONUSES

TEACHERS have demanded that their bonus this year be paid in United States dollars.

The issue came out during the Zimbabwe Teachers Association (Zimta) Ehlekweni Declaration made on November 6, 2021, where the educators threatened to boycott invigilating the 2021-22 Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) examinations citing incapacitation.

Other teachers’ unions have declared that their members would engage on a full-blown strike over low salaries and poor working conditions.

“Teachers are demanding that the employer must pay bonuses in United States dollars this month of November 2021,” Zimta said in a statement.

“Because teachers are sinking deeper into incapacitation each and every day, this is the only way to avert crashing them deeper into poverty and dysfunction.”

Contacted for comment, Public Service minister Paul Mavima told NewsDay that government was still deliberating on the teachers’ demands.

“Government will pay civil servants their bonuses starting this month, but the issue of payment in United States dollars is still under consideration. Government will announce its position in due course,” Mavima said.

Teachers also said starting this month, they wanted invigilation of examinations to be paid for by Zimsec, as this was the only way to guarantee the quality of examinations, while motivating the teachers and introducing equity in the treatment of all those who manage examinations.

They said evidence at hand had proved that Zimsec had the capacity to pay teachers for invigilation services.

Zimsec examinations are scheduled to begin on November 22 for “O” Level candidates, while the “A” Level and Grade 7 examinations will commence on November 29.

Last year, the Primary and Secondary Education ministry was forced to recruit external invigilators after teachers, who were on strike, failed to pitch up.

Zimsec spokesperson Nichollette Dlamini said she was aware that the teachers had raised the concerns, but referred all questions to the ministry.

“The teachers raised those concerns during a roundtable meeting held recently, where the Primary and Secondary Education ministry was in attendance. The ministry said the teachers’ concerns were under its purview, therefore, we are still waiting for its communication over that matter,” Dlamini said.

Ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro was, however, not picking calls yesterday.

During their meeting, Zimta called on government to enhance forex withdrawals by teachers to cushion their earnings from inflation.

“In the same declaration, the educators are demanding that government puts in place a facility that enables teachers to access the weekly US$50 from their individual nostro accounts,” they said.

“This has been necessitated by failure of the majority to access their weekly forex allocations availed to them via local banks and bureaux de change by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.”

The Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) national executive council yesterday declared a 12-day job action against teachers’ low salaries, starting from Friday this week.

“Teachers will not invigilate this year’s examinations unless Zimsec tables invigilation contracts to teachers,” Artuz secretary-general Robson Chere said.

“Invigilation will be treated as a separate responsibility and teachers should be paid. Teachers will completely withdraw labour for 12 working days beginning November 15, 2021 in protest against slave wages. The union demands restoration of the pre-October 2018 salaries. The union demands a bonus which is 100% of the pre-October 2018 salaries.”

For most part of 2020 and 2021, several teachers have not been reporting for duty citing incapacitation. Newsday

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