Vigilance and Resilience Most Important in the Decisive Phase of Teachers’ Incapacitation
12 November 2020
*The gvt has tried an array of methods to break teachers’ incapacitation, ranging from threats of dismissal, divisionism, unprocedural and unpalatable salary increase, to the current compilation of names of incapacitated teachers.
We reiterate our long held view that teachers are not voluntarily absenting themselves from work but have been incapacitated by the gvt that reduced their salary from US$520-US$550 in October 2018 to less than US$40 by September 2020. At any rate it is not a crime to be absent in terms of public service regulations. What is punishable is being away without a good cause.
*Incapacitation is surely a good cause* and as Ptuz, we informed both the employer PSC and Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education about this. As the United Front of Teacher Unions we have also informed the President of Zimbabwe, cde ED Mnangagwa about teachers’ predicament. Consequently, there is no way gvt can legally punish teachers after incapacitating them unless it would want to create a legal lacuna.
The futile exercise by the Ministry of Education and PSC is nothing other than intimidatory so that teachers can borrow in order to go to work and therefore sink deeper into debts.
We therefore advice teachers against borrowing but rather eagerly wait to be capacitated by gvt. Borrowing will dilute our message to gvt and weaken our bargaining power.
We urge school heads to disregard the unpalatable demand to compile names of incapacitated teachers. At any rate when the worst comes to the worst we will be readily available to defend you in terms of PSC regulations.
Gvt must abandon intimidatory tactics and engage leaders of the United Front of Teacher Unions in order to find an acceptable way forward. Gvt firefighting methods through archaic, obsolete, moribund Apex Council whose term of office has long expired has no traction.
Worse still we reiterate that salaries and conditions of service must be products of dialogue or engagement rather than the callous unilateral gvt paternalism that is an affront to trade unionism.
The time for parents and students to amplify their voices in support of teachers is now. Practical examinations are starting next week and if no solution is urgently found there would be disaster in schools.
Our commitment to dialogue must be harnessed by gvt so as to bring an end to the impasse in schools. Time is ticking away and teachers would not be blamed over whatever eventuality that may ensue and militate against the smoothy preparation of students for examibations, let alone the actual writing of examinations. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Vigilance demands that incapacitated teachers must always be resilient every time.
Dr Takavafira M. Zhou (Ptuz Presisent)