The government’s refusal to raise the 18 per cent salary increment that it offered civil servants has divided the unions under the Apex Council.
On one hand, the Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and the Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) have decided to go on strike while on the other hand, unions representing government officers and other technical staff have not yet resolved to embark on industrial action.
There have been accusations and counter-accusations among the Unions with teachers accusing some in the Apex Council of being government agents. Teachers have been accused of being used by opposition political parties and donors.
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While speaking after the National Joint Negotiating Council meeting which failed to deliver a fresh deal for civil servants in Harare on Wednesday PTUZ secretary-general Raymond Majongwe said:
We are talking about incapacitation here. We are talking about not being able to send our children to school because we do not have money. But we are ashamed that some of our members are busy talking the intelligence language of government, it is bad.
Zimta chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu revealed that teachers would go on strike starting next week. He said:
What our colleagues are doing is rubbish. It shows that they are not membership driven when it comes to labour issues, instead, serve their selfish interest. We are going on strike starting February 5 and we have followed the law.
Civil servants have demanded that the government should pay $1 700 to the lowest paid worker. The Apex Council chairperson Cecilia Alexander said that if teachers were to go on strike, the industrial action could be hijacked by political organisations for their selfish goals.