Teacher Unions and the government will today hold a crucial indaba in a move aimed at avoiding a strike by teachers as schools are set to open tomorrow.
The major teachers’ unions, that is, the Zimbabwe Teachers Union (ZIMTA), Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union Of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ) have all threatened to go on strike unless the government gives in to their demands, one of which is payment of salaries in US dollars.
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Apex Council secretary-general David Dzatsunga said the civil servants’ umbrella body will allow members to make decisions that suit their members. Said Dzatsunga:
We have agreed that every other action will be premised on today’s meeting with the five principals [ministers] from our employer.
The decision to go for a strike comes from the members. Some unions can unilaterally declare a job action if that is what their membership has proposed. That will not necessarily be the position of the Apex Council. The apex body will sit down and make an apex position.
Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union Association of Zimbabwe president Obert Masaraure said that his union will attend the meeting but that would not stop its members from going on strike:
The strike will go ahead. Teachers will not attend the preparatory meetings today and will not report to work on Tuesday. The only thing that can stop us from going on strike is a reflection of US$ salaries in our accounts.
Zimbabwe Progressive Teachers’ Union president Takavafira Zhou had this to say:
Our salaries are enough to take us to work for two days. We are deliberating the two days we should report to work and the three we should stay at home. We are very clear about that. The purchasing power parity of our salaries can no longer allow us to do so. We cannot subsidise our employer.
Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) president Richard Gundani said:
Talking won’t capacitate teachers. They need money. The strike is going ahead.