Transcript: Full Statement by PTUZ President, Dr. Takavafira. M Zhou

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ZIMBABWE – Teacher’s Unions have continued to urge teachers to stay at home until the government addresses their grievances which among the many include the restoration of their salaries to reflect the current economic reality.

They are arguing that their salaries have been reduced to US$35 and demand they be restored to the equivalent of US$520 before they resume work.

Government announced that schools should reopen today, 28 September for examination classes with the reopening phases for all other classes is already set.

However some teachers continued to defy the orders by government and did not report for work today.

PTUZ, the second largest teacher’ union in the country has said in a statement they “will negotiate from home.”

BELOW IS THE FULL STATEMENT BY THE PTUZ PRESIDENT:

Incapacitation: The Uniform of All Level Headed Teachers in Zimbabwe

28 September 2020

Yes the D day is today and where you are during the day defines what you are. Yes we want to congratulate the heroes of incapacitation who have not reported for work. We salute you for being pragmatic and realistic.

The starvation salary could not afford an opportunity for you to travel to your school, buy basic commodities for your family, let alone pay school fees for your kids.

The exorbitant fees of $25000 to $60000 is surely beyond the reach of all teachers. You have refused to offer a service that your children cannot enjoy.

We salute NASH and NAPH for a greater understanding of the plight of teachers and encourage you to continue to educate a few rogue school heads who think they have monopoly of intimidating teachers to report for work despite their incapacitation.

You have also made substantial submissions which sadly were dismissed before they were even read by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education’s totalising discourse.

You have not received money that gvt claims has disbursed to schools and you are expected to make wonders in the desert. It remains puzzling how many of you will do your work diligently and judiciously.

We therefore encourage you to join the incapacitation modus operandi in one way or another and even stay at your home.

If you dont you will go down as accomplices in exposing teachers, students and ancillary staff to covid 19 genocide, particularly if you have no capacity to test pupils, teachers and ancillary staff.

We are also aware of about 2% of teachers who irrigate in their pants and have borrowed in order to travel to their respective schools.

These are not only cowards but indiciplined teachers salivating at fleecing students and parents.

Let it be clear that such illicit fleecing will not add value to your pension. You are nothing but short sighted.

The responsibility of paying a reasonable salary is the prerogative of your employer. Such professional indiscipline of fleecing students must never be condoned at this critical juncture in our struggle for a living wage.

To the free riders, the time to join a union of your choice is now.

There is strength in unionised teachers and fighting battles with greater manpower, minimum losses and maximum gains. The time to add weight to our United Front struggle is now.

We learn through the social media that gvt is ready to give COLA while negotiations continue under NJNC.

This is baffling given the fact that no one has asked for such COLA. Gvt must mellow down to a more constructive approach by addressing teachers’ dispute of right over the reduction of their salary from US$550 to US$35.

We dont want COLA, but restoration of our salary’s purchasing power. Worse still gvt’s flirtation with Apex Council is puzzling given its expiry of mandate and its illegal transformation into a confederation without federations and mandate from gvt workers.

This is no time for mere promises but delivery by gvt. Teachers do not eat promises and neither do they eat infinite negotiations. Incapacitation is real and therefore teachers would negotiate from their homes.

The duration of teachers’ incapacitation modus operandi will be determined by gvt’s ability to address their dispute of right.

Teachers do not eat threats. The only way forward for poor and miserable teachers is to engage a high incapacitation gear.

Let all teachers rise and be counted as liberators from degradation, servitude and paltry wages. We continue to hope that even at this 12th hour gvt would take our professional advice, pay teachers what they are worthy, prioritise their health and safety and pave way for a smoothy re-opening of schools.

The current hap-hazardous meddling and muddling through will regretably add chaos to the education system.

Venceremos

Dr Takavafira M. Zhou (Ptuz President)

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