Saturday, 12 February 2022


PUBLIC school teachers will return to work tomorrow after accepting a new salary package offered by the Government last Tuesday.

Representatives of civil servants met with Government negotiators on Friday under the auspices of the National Joint Negotiation Council (NJNC) where the workers assented to the new pay deal.

Leaders of the main teacher unions told The Sunday Mail yesterday that after agreeing to the offer, they have engaged the Government over the suspension of teachers who failed to report for duty when schools opened last week. This comes as the Government has started investigating the suspended educators, with disciplinary hearings for those accused of misconduct set to begin this week.

The largest teacher representative body, Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), has directed its members to go back to work.

ZIMTA secretary general Mr Goodwill Taderera said yesterday: “We just had a virtual meeting and our members are ready to report for duty.

“Those of our members who are already at their work stations, occupying school residences, will report for duty without delay. We have noted that there are some teachers that are genuinely incapacitated.

“So, we will definitely be engaging the Government over the issue of suspensions. On Friday at the NJNC, we agreed to the offer that was tabled by Government. We, however, asked them to be lenient with the suspended teachers since they were incapacitated.”

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe president Dr Takavafira Zhou said their members will also report for duty.

“We sent a circular to our members and we are still receiving feedback,” said Dr Zhou.

“However, from the reports that we have been getting, members are willing to start reporting for duty.

“Some of the issues on the salary offer package are noble, but there is need for clarity on implementation.

Director of communications and advocacy in the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education Mr Taungana Ndoro, said the actual number of teachers suspended will only be known after investigations and disciplinary hearings are completed.

“When the suspensions were announced, investigations commenced and they are underway,” he said.

“Disciplinary hearings will then follow thereafter. There are teachers who were absent at schools because they had gone for marking, on sick or maternity leave among other valid reasons, those will be exonerated.

“So, in a couple of days after investigations and disciplinary hearings we will know the exact number of suspended teachers.”

The Government last week awarded its workers a new remuneration package that includes a 20 percent pay increment backdated to January 1, US$100 cash allowance which is converted from the employees’ local currency salary component.

Other non-monetary benefits include payment of school fees for up to three biological children with an upper limit of $20 000 per child.

In addition, the Government also undertook to construct 34 000 houses for public sector workers over the next five years. A joint communique released after Friday’s NJNC meeting, states that all parties were in agreement to the pay package review. The NJNC is the body under which the Government discusses conditions of service with its workers.

“The workers side made the following pleas for Government to consider: bringing back the effective date of implementation of the US$100 package pay date from March 1 to January 1, 2022; not taking action against teachers who fail to report for duty.” Sunday Mail


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